- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2005

Washington Redskins receiver Rod Gardner’s six months on the market should end today with a trade to Carolina for a low-round draft pick. The trade will become official if Gardner passes his physical at the Panthers’ facility in Charlotte, N.C.

Gardner’s departure would free $2.1million in salary cap room, which the Redskins need to sign first-round picks Carlos Rogers and Jason Campbell.

Although Gardner, 27, led Washington with five touchdown catches in 2004, he caught just 51 passes for 650 yards and lived up to the “50-50” nickname he was given for his ratio of catches to drops. The Redskins gave him permission to seek a trade in January and replaced him as a starter by signing the smaller but faster and more reliable David Patten as a free agent in March.

The Panthers, who cut top receiver Muhsin Muhammad for cap reasons in February, have been seeking a veteran besides 37-year-old Ricky Proehl to play behind starters Steve Smith and Keary Colbert. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Gardner, who starred at nearby Clemson, is appealing because of his size, durability (he hasn’t missed a game) and four years as a starter.

“It’s a good fit for Rod,” agent Joel Segal said. “He’s looking forward to going to camp [after being excused from Washington’s entire offseason program].”

Gardner, Washington’s top choice in the 2001 draft, averaged 16.1 yards as a rookie and followed with 71 catches, 1,006 yards and eight touchdowns in 2002. However, Gardner’s past two seasons were frustrating. He topped four catches only twice and 41 yards just once during the last 13 games of 2004.

As Gardner departs, the other veteran Redskin whose tenure in Washington has long been in doubt remained in limbo with the start of training camp just five days away. Middle linebacker Mike Barrow, whom the Redskins had hoped would make a comeback at 35 after missing all of last year with a balky knee, also has been given permission to seek a trade. Despite a future that is questionable at best, Barrow apparently believes he can top the $1.74 million he was due to earn in Washington. Agent Marvin Demoff said that the decision to part ways was Barrow’s, not his or the Redskins.

Notes — Running back/H-back Manuel White agreed to a four-year, $1.81 million contract, including a $425,000 signing bonus. White, the fourth of six choices to sign, plans to donate some of his bonus to his alma maters, Valencia (Calif.) High and UCLA. …

The Redskins were fined $45,000 for violating league rules regarding practice squad procedures last season. …

Defensive tackle Brandon Noble (knee), safety Andre Lott (leg) and Rogers (foot) might not be cleared for full participation when camp starts. However, agent Drew Rosenhaus said safety Sean Taylor, who hasn’t been at Redskin Park since the 2004 season ended, would report Sunday. Taylor is facing trial Sept. 12 in Miami on a felony assault charge and a misdemeanor of simple battery.

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