- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The Washington Redskins and free agent Cory Raymer came to terms last night on a three-year, $3.1million contract, NFL sources said, bringing the popular center back to Washington after a two-year absence.

Sources said Raymer will formally sign the deal today.

Raymer started 53 games for the Redskins from 1995 to 2001 and became a popular player among fans and teammates alike. Though he has battled injuries throughout his career in Washington and San Diego, the 31-year-old offensive lineman passed a physical Tuesday and convinced Redskins officials that he’s in good health.

Raymer started eight games with the Chargers last year and is expected to compete with Lennie Friedman for the starting center job during training camp. Larry Moore, who started the first eight games of last season before suffering a foot injury, is likely to be released.

Raymer becomes the 12th player acquired by coach Joe Gibbs since free agency opened last week. The club yesterday formally announced the signing of tight end Walter Rasby, who is returning to the Redskins after one season in New Orleans.

Gibbs isn’t finished courting free agents either. Linebacker Brandon Short arrived in town yesterday evening and will meet with the club through today. NFL sources said the Redskins are strongly interested in Short, who would provide depth at linebacker and be a key special teams contributor.

Short, who spent the last four seasons with the New York Giants, is a former Penn State teammate of Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington.

Washington could have interest in another ex-Giants linebacker, Michael Barrow, who was released yesterday for salary cap reasons. But NFL sources said the Redskins probably would go after Barrow, one of the league’s leading tacklers, only if they can get him at a relatively low price.

The 33-year-old middle linebacker was due to count more than $5million against the cap this year. Barrow refused to take a pay cut from the Giants, leading to his release.

Meanwhile, Washington still hasn’t heard from the Rams regarding restricted free agent Jerametrius Butler. St. Louis has until tomorrow to match the Redskins’ six-year, $15million offer sheet for the cornerback. If the Rams decide not to keep Butler, they would get Washington’s fifth-round draft choice as compensation.

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