- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Sean Taylor has struck again.

The Washington Redskins rookie safety fired his agents a week after the group showed rare urgency and got his contract done before the opening of training camp.

The abrupt dismissal of Jeff Moorad, Eugene Mato and Scott Parker extends a bizarre series of events to start Taylor’s NFL career. Taylor fired his first agent, Drew Rosenhaus, shortly after the draft, was fined $25,000 for skipping a day of the rookie symposium and missed a day of offseason practice following a bad reaction to a rookie prank.

Last night an NFL source said Taylor was close to re-hiring Miami-based Rosenhaus, who attended Redskins practice at an area high school and spent much of the workout talking to vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato. Rosenhaus declined comment, but there is speculation Taylor will try to rework his seven-year, $18 million contract in the near future.

Sources familiar with the situation said Taylor had grown unhappy with criticism of his deal. Moorad, the Newport Beach, Calif.-based lead agent in negotiations, said last night: “My partners and I are proud to have been involved in bringing Sean to the Washington Redskins. We’re confident Sean will be significantly compensated throughout the course of his contract.”

Redskins players weren’t available yesterday, and in any case Taylor hasn’t been speaking to the media.

Opinions about Taylor’s deal, which could be worth up to $40 million with escalators and incentives, were divided among other clubs’ officials and agents in interviews yesterday. There were two primary measures of comparison: Terence Newman’s contract with the Dallas Cowboys last year, and the contracts of players drafted before and after Taylor, the No. 5 pick overall, this year.

Compared to Newman, 2003’s fifth pick, Taylor didn’t fare too badly. He took a modest decrease in essentially guaranteed compensation (about $13.1 million vs. Newman’s $14 million) in exchange for $22 million of escalators and incentives. One contract specialist for an NFL team constructed a scenario in which Taylor reached two Pro Bowls in coming years and walked away with an extra $11.5 million.

Said the contract specialist for another NFL team: “I wouldn’t consider this contract a loser for the player.”

But mega-deals have been rolling in for the draft’s top picks in recent days. Particularly towering was the six-year contract signed by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, the third pick. Fitzgerald reportedly got a little more than $20 million in guaranteed money and could make as much as $60 million with incentives.

“Look at five and three,” one agent said. “What a difference.”

Brunell to start

Coach Joe Gibbs said quarterback Mark Brunell will start against the Denver Broncos in Monday’s Hall of Fame Game, the Redskins’ preseason opener. Patrick Ramsey will start the second exhibition, Aug. 14 against the Carolina Panthers, and the two will continue to rotate from there.

“We’ll balance that, even it up,” Gibbs said of the quarterback battle. …

Wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who came up limping on his bad toe after a fall Monday, sat out last night’s practice, but Gibbs said it was precautionary. Sidelined for similar reasons were linebacker Michael Barrow (knee) and guard Randy Thomas (knee). H-back Mike Sellers returned from an ankle sprain.

Camp at Redskin Park resumes today with a 2 p.m. practice, which is open to the public.

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