- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 27, 2003

The Washington Redskins agreed to terms yesterday with offensive lineman Derrick Dockery, their third-round pick, leaving second-round wide receiver Taylor Jacobs as the club’s only unsigned rookie as players report today for training camp at Redskin Park.

Dockery agreed to a four-year, $1.849million deal that in essence is a three-year agreement. Easy-to-reach playing time incentives will void the fourth year, which had to be included for salary-cap purposes. The $484,000 signing bonus fit right into Dockery’s slot as the 81st player drafted.

The Redskins remained optimistic that Jacobs would agree to terms today and be on hand for tomorrow’s opening 9a.m. practice. Agent David Ware, however, cautioned that the sides still had progress to make.

“We’re closer,” Ware said yesterday afternoon. “But I wouldn’t say we’re close.”

If Jacobs joins Dockery and seventh-round quarterback Gibran Hamdan in signing on time, the Redskins will have their first camp without a holdout since 1999. Linebacker LaVar Arrington held out three days in 2000, wide receiver Rod Gardner four days and cornerback Fred Smoot two days in 2001 and quarterback Patrick Ramsey 16 days last summer.

Dockery is 6-foot-6 and 345 pounds and can play guard or tackle. He could become Washington’s top reserve offensive lineman, and a superlative camp could push him into the starting lineup.

The Redskins needed Dockery’s voidable fourth year because the club was having trouble fitting its draft picks into its rookie pool — a cap within the cap. Rookie pools have remained flat for two years as the league and players union shift money to veterans, but agents are still pushing for — and generally getting — slight annual increases.

Adding an easily voidable fourth year allowed Washington to prorate Dockery’s bonus over a longer period without boosting the payout. The Redskins basically were able to pay market rate even though their pool dictated a smaller deal. By getting the clause in Dockery’s deal, the Redskins won’t need one in Jacobs’.

Jacobs, the 44th player selected in the draft, is in line to receive a five-year contract with a signing bonus around $1.8million. He looked terrific in offseason practices and will push for significant snaps in coach Steve Spurrier’s heavy rotation of receivers.

Meanwhile, free-agent defensive tackle Gilbert Brown returned to Plan A and re-signed with Green Bay, leaving the Redskins to resume their search for potential replacements for Dan Wilkinson.

Washington had been interested in Brown and even arranged a clandestine visit earlier this week. The club considered signing Brown and releasing Wilkinson, who has refused to lower his $3.5million salary.

But Brown, who has played his entire career in Green Bay and was assumed to be re-signing with the Packers all offseason, aborted his brief consideration of Washington. Green Bay had been balking at any deal that didn’t qualify for the veterans’ cap credit, but the club reportedly gave Brown a multi-year contract that included a $400,000 signing bonus — far too lucrative to qualify for the credit.

The Redskins have wanted Wilkinson to drop his salary before camp opens, because a camp injury would leave them on the hook for all $3.5million. But Wilkinson hasn’t taken seriously their threats to cut him, knowing that the team would have to sign a quality replacement.

Several potential options, like Chicago’s Ted Washington, are being monitored as other teams conduct camps. The thought is to pick up someone who is cut or work out a trade. However, Redskins officials have broadened their thinking as they have become increasingly frustrated with Wilkinson.

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