- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2003

For the first time in four years, the Washington Redskins will have no rookie holdouts on the first day of training camp.

The Redskins ensured as much yesterday by signing second-round draft pick Taylor Jacobs to a five-year, $4.3 million contract just minutes before coach Steve Spurrier officially opened camp with a full-squad meeting at team headquarters.

Jacobs, a wide receiver who played three seasons for Spurrier at Florida, received a $1.81 million signing bonus. He flew in from Gainesville, Fla., yesterday morning with the deal still incomplete and signed the contract at 3:45 p.m. — just in time to make the 4 p.m. meeting at the National Conference Center in Leesburg.

He’ll be in uniform at Redskin Park with the rest of his teammates for today’s 9 a.m. practice.

“That was important to Taylor,” agent David Ware said. “He didn’t want to miss any time.”

The 44th player selected overall, Jacobs joins third-round offensive lineman Derrick Dockery and seventh-round quarterback Gibran Hamdan in the NFL’s smallest rookie class.

It’s also the first group of Redskins rookies not to include a camp holdout since 1999. Linebacker LaVar Arrington held out for three days in 2000 and wide receiver Rod Gardner (four days) and cornerback Fred Smoot (two days) were late to arrive in 2001. Last summer, quarterback Patrick Ramsey held out 16 days before finally appearing in uniform.

After watching seven of his former Florida players fail to produce last year, Spurrier insisted he wouldn’t sign any more this time around. But when Jacobs (projected as a late first-round draft pick) slipped to the second round, Spurrier couldn’t pass him up.

To date, Jacobs hasn’t disappointed his old coach. Already more comfortable in the Redskins’ Fun ‘n’ Gun offense than some veteran newcomers, the rookie was a pleasant surprise during minicamp in May.

He is expected to assume the No.3 receiver spot by Washington’s Sept. 4 season opener against the Jets, playing behind starters Gardner and Laveranues Coles.

Jacobs’ last-minute signing wasn’t so much a product of vast differences between club and agent as it was a product of a late start. Ware also represents Cowboys rookie cornerback Terrence Newman (the draft’s No.5 overall selection) and spent most of last week negotiating that deal.

Once serious discussions began with the Redskins late in the week, there were few obstacles. The two sides did briefly debate over the length of the contract (four or five years) and the possibility of including incentives for receptions and yards, but they ultimately settled on a more traditional deal.

Big Daddy in limbo

Redskins officials last night were considering whether to keep defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson off the practice field, not wanting to risk his $3.5 million salary.

Washington is adamant about Wilkinson taking a pay cut, but a new deal won’t get done for at least a few days. A camp injury would leave the Redskins on the hook for his salary which is why the team is considering holding him out. Wilkinson, who obviously wants to play for his current figure, did his part by reporting to camp as expected.

Holding up any negotiations is the fact that Wilkinson changed agents, firing George Mavrikes and hiring Brig Owens. There is a five-day moratorium when a player switches agents, and it’s believed Owens cannot strike a deal until tomorrow at the earliest.

The Redskins aren’t attempting to sign any current free agents. The club has monitored potential replacements, players who could be cut or traded from other teams, but those scenarios would take some time to develop.

Trotter says he’s ready

Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said his rehabilitated knee is “100 percent,” and that he’ll be able to practice this morning at “full-speed, all-out, full-go.”

Trotter tore several ligaments, including the ACL, in his right knee in last season’s Thanksgiving Day loss at Dallas. However, he progressed ahead of schedule, even participating in some team drills by the end of offseason practices.

Now he’ll do full work in this morning’s practice, then determine a schedule based on how his knee reacts.

“You’ve got to be smart about it,” Trotter said. “I’d love to be out there every day — and I hope to be out there every day, twice a day. But we just have to see how it goes.”

Trotter said team officials have left much of the decision-making about practice time in his hands.

“They basically told me it’s up to me, because I’m the only one who really knows how it’s going to feel every day,” he said.

Extra points

Reiterating his comments during offseason workouts, Spurrier said he doesn’t envision carrying four tailbacks on his gameday roster. That doesn’t bode well for one of the four players (Trung Canidate, Ladell Betts, Kenny Watson and Chad Morton) competing in camp. Spurrier said Canidate will get the first crack at lining up with the first-teamers, but he plans to look hard at all four players. …

To make room on their roster for Jacobs and Dockery, the Redskins released offensive lineman Alex Sulfsted and defensive lineman Durrand Roundtree.

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