- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 18, 2004

The Washington Redskins reached an agreement with cornerback Walt Harris and concluded a visit with defensive end Kenny Holmes yesterday. Afterward club officials were confident that they had finished shopping for free agents for the time being.

No more visits are scheduled. The Redskins appear content with their roster heading into Monday’s start of the offseason workout program, coach Joe Gibbs’ first minicamp March26-28 and possibly the April24-25 draft.

The start to free agency once again was a flurry for Washington, which paced the market for a second straight year. From March2, the day before the signing and trading period opened, to yesterday, the Redskins acquired or re-signed 14 players, including former Pro Bowl picks in quarterback Mark Brunell, running back Clinton Portis and cornerback Shawn Springs.

Harris, 29, agreed to a three-year deal that agent Brian Levy said will pay him close to $1.5million in signing bonus and first-year salary. A starter in 15 games for the Indianapolis Colts last season, Harris likely won’t practice for Washington until training camp because of a recently torn knee tendon.

Harris joined Washington a day after former New York Giants cornerback Ralph Brown. Harris, Brown and 2002 third-round pick Rashad Bauman will compete for the No.3 corner job behind Fred Smoot and Springs and contribute on special teams.

Holmes, 30, isn’t expected to sign anytime soon. He continues to have some injury concerns following arthroscopic knee surgery but could be an option for Washington in coming months.

The Redskins also met with linebackers Greg Favors, Brandon Short and Warrick Holdman in recent weeks. All three continue to shop around the NFL for better contracts and/or playing situations, and no signings are imminent.

The official signings of Harris and Brown will leave Washington with a bit over $4million in cap space, and it appears the club could get through the offseason without renegotiating any contracts. Despite heavy spending this offseason, Washington hasn’t restructured any deals since linebacker LaVar Arrington’s extension just before the end of last season.

Note — Smoot confirmed that he recently fired Carl and Kevin Poston, the agents who represent Arrington and have accused the Redskins of removing a $6.5million roster bonus from Arrington’s contract extension.

The move to James “Bus” Cook was something Smoot had contemplated for several years, he said in a phone interview. Smoot added that the change had nothing to do with the Postons’ admission that they did not read the final draft of Arrington’s contract before he signed it.

“I went with my gut,” Smoot said. “[Any connection to Arrington] was probably just bad timing.”

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