- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 12, 2003

The Washington Redskins acquired safety Matt Bowen yesterday when the Green Bay Packers declined to match his offer sheet.

Bowen, 26, is expected to start ahead of David Terrell at free safety. The Redskins consider Bowen an up-and-coming safety with good speed and range. Terrell, a restricted free agent, started the past two seasons but now is slated to be the third safety and a special teams contributor.

Green Bay is flush with safeties, with starters Darren Sharper and Marques Anderson as well as a former first-round pick, Antuan Edwards, as a reserve. Washington paid Bowen like a starter and Green Bay didn't think he was worth that much.

A four-year, $6 million proposal with a $1.6 million signing bonus netted Bowen. He signed the offer sheet on March 4 and the Packers had the right to match until 4 p.m. yesterday. By declining, they obtained Washington's sixth-round pick in next month's draft.

The Redskins now have acquired the first of three restricted free agents they targeted. Returner Chad Morton is next; the New York Jets have until tomorrow to match his offer sheet. After that comes wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who held off signing his offer sheet yesterday as the Redskins maneuvered for salary cap space.

Meanwhile, long snapper Ethan Albright confirmed that he was cut and re-signed last week to take advantage of the veterans' cap credit. He wanted to make the move last year but the NFL wouldn't allow it. He said Cleveland and Buffalo both called during the five minutes he was on the market, but he never had any intention of leaving the Redskins.

Also, safety Ifeanyi Ohalete signed his $375,000 tender offer, NFL sources said. The Redskins have five other exclusive-rights players who eventually will sign.

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