- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is seeking a blockbuster deal on the eve of free agency.

Detroit rejected Snyder's trade offer of the Redskins' No. 13 overall selection and cornerback Fred Smoot for the Lions' No. 2 overall pick and their second-rounder in the April 26 draft plus two unnamed veterans, according to NFL sources. Washington officials denied making the offer.

The Redskins seek a marquee receiver with the second pick to complement 2001 first-rounder Rod Gardner. Washington is concentrating on offense during the upcoming offseason so seeking Michigan State receiver Charles Rogers or Miami receiver Andre Johnson with the second pick is possible. However, Detroit is also considering both receivers.

Snyder has tried to move up in the past three drafts. Washington traded two first-rounders to San Francisco in 2000 to select offensive tackle Chris Samuels with the third overall selection. It failed several trade attempts last year to move into the top 10 to get quarterback Joey Harrington before later trading down twice for the 32nd overall pick to take quarterback Patrick Ramsey.

Trading Smoot presents some risks. The 2001 second-rounder didn't blossom last year as expected, but is still considered a top prospect after starting two seasons. With cornerback Champ Bailey entering the final season of his five-year deal, Washington might be without a proven cornerback in 2004 after having one of the NFL's better young tandems last year.

Replacing Smoot immediately wouldn't be easy, either. With the retirement of Darrell Green, the Redskins don't have a proven backup and free agency isn't expected to yield a replacement when veterans become available on Friday.

Also yesterday, the Redskins hired Robert Nunn as defensive line coach and named Ken Clarke his assistant, filling out the final two vacancies on the 2003 coaching staff.

Nunn, who served as a defensive assistant with the Miami Dolphins the last three years, takes over for defensive line coach Ricky Hunley. Hunley left Washington last month to become Marvin Lewis' linebackers coach in Cincinnati.

The former head coach at Georgia Military College, where he posted a 66-19 record from 1992 to 1999, Nunn assumes control of a Redskins defensive line with plenty of unanswered questions heading into the start of the NFL's free agency period.

The club and Daryl Gardener remain at an impasse in their contract negotiations, with the starting defensive tackle set to become an unrestricted free agent at midnight Friday should the two sides fail to come to terms.

Gardener's counterpart at defensive tackle, Dan Wilkinson, is expected to be cut after June 1, though he said Monday he may be willing to restructure his contact to stay with the Redskins. And veteran defensive end Bruce Smith has yet to decide whether he will return at age 40 to continue his pursuit of the NFL's all-time sack record.

Washington also added Mark Smith and Bobby Crumpler to its strength and conditioning staff. Both spent last season at the University of Kansas.

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