- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2005

The Washington Redskins solved a headache and cleared a logjam in the space of a couple of hours yesterday, signing receiver Santana Moss to a six-year, $31 million contract extension and releasing quarterback Tim Hasselbeck.

Moss, who was acquired from the New York Jets in a trade for disgruntled receiver Laveranues Coles on March 9, received a combined signing and option bonus of $11 million. If the 25-year-old Moss plays in 45 percent of the offensive snaps in any of the next five years, the final year would be void and the deal would be worth $26.55 million. Moss was set to make $448,000 this season in the last year of the contract he signed as the Jets’ first-round draft pick in 2001.

The speedy Moss broke out with 75 catches in 2003 after Coles left for the Redskins. He slumped to 45 last season but averaged 18.6 yards a grab. Fellow new Redskin David Patten averaged 18.2 yards a catch for New England, giving Washington — which averaged an NFC-low 10 yards last season — two of the top five starting receivers in the category.

Moss has been absent from the Redskins’ offseason conditioning program along with Sean Taylor as their agent, Drew Rosenhaus, sought to negotiate new contracts. Players have been working out at Redskin Park Tuesday through Thursday the past seven weeks. Organized team activities begin May 17 with minicamp June 17-19.

Neither Moss, Rosenhaus nor Redskins coach Joe Gibbs could be reached for comment about the deal. Gibbs and perhaps Moss will be available at a press conference today at Redskin Park.

Hasselbeck’s departure was expected after the Redskins used the second of their two first-round picks in the April 23 draft on Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell. Hasselbeck, who started the last five games of 2003 after Patrick Ramsey broke a foot, didn’t start any last season as Mark Brunell started the first nine games and Ramsey the last seven. Ramsey, whom Gibbs named the starter for 2005, and Brunell both have at least two years left on their contracts.

“After having a discussion with Tim … and his agent, their preference is for Tim to be released to pursue opportunities with other teams,” Gibbs said in a statement released by the club. “We think the world of Tim and will honor his request. We love what he did for us while he was here and wish him all the best for his future.”

Hasselbeck received feelers from a couple of teams this winter, when he was a restricted free agent. Seattle, where his brother Matt is the starter, Cleveland and the New York Giants are among the teams that could be looking for help at quarterback.

“Being a part of the Washington Redskins for two seasons and the tradition and history that go along with it has been tremendous,” Hasselbeck said in a statement issued by the Redskins. “I appreciate Coach Gibbs and the organization looking out for my best interests, and I want to thank them for the opportunity they gave me in Washington and being understanding of my situation and my career.”

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