- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Patrick Ramsey, Washington’s former starting quarterback and the team’s passing leader in three of the last four seasons, is on the verge of being traded.

Ramsey’s likely trade to the New York Jets for perhaps a sixth-round choice in next month’s NFL draft and a future selection would be the next domino to fall in a series of quarterback moves around the league yesterday. It began when Minnesota traded Daunte Culpepper to Miami, followed by former San Diego starter Drew Brees signing with New Orleans and continued with ex-Cincinnati and Seattle starter Jon Kitna going to Detroit.

Ramsey’s exit was seemingly sealed when new offensive coordinator Al Saunders didn’t mention him when discussing Washington’s offense for the coming season.

And yesterday, the Redskins signed longtime Kansas City backup Todd Collins to replace Ramsey as the second banana to veteran Mark Brunell. Collins, who threw just 27 passes the last five seasons under Saunders with the Chiefs, got a two-year, $2.5 million contract that includes a $450,000 signing bonus.

All those developments left Ramsey and less-proven Josh McCown of Arizona as the top possibilities for the Jets, whose new coach, Eric Mangini, wants to add an experienced alternative to disappointing holdovers Chad Pennington and Brooks Bollinger. If Ramsey joins the Jets, he would reunite with Laveranues Coles, his favorite receiver when he was Washington’s starter in 2003 before breaking a foot in the 11th game.

The Redskins and the Jets were believed to be in talks to consummate the trade last night. Ramsey has one year remaining on the contract he signed during the training camp before his rookie season. Neither Ramsey nor agent Jimmy Sexton could be reached for comment.

Few Redskins have had such up-and-down tenures in Washington as the 27-year-old Ramsey, who was taken in the first round of the 2002 draft despite the objections of then-coach Steve Spurrier and was almost traded to Chicago that summer. Ramsey sparkled off the bench in his debut at Tennessee in the team’s fourth game that season only to throw four interceptions and get sacked 13 times the next two weeks in starts against New Orleans and Green Bay.

Ramsey played well in his return to the lineup in the final three games of 2002 and reached his zenith with the Redskins with 356 yards and two touchdowns in a comeback victory at Atlanta the following September. The former Tulane passer had a 14-9 touchdown-interception ratio in 2003 when he was injured Nov. 23 at Miami.

Before he recovered, new coach Joe Gibbs traded for Pro Bowl veteran Mark Brunell to be the starter. Ramsey replaced the faltering Brunell for the final seven games of 2004 and produced solid enough numbers for Gibbs to proclaim him the starter for 2005.

However, the Redskins undercut Ramsey’s future hold on the job by trading for the right to draft Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell in the first round last April. Ramsey struggled during the preseason, and after he was knocked woozy in the second quarter of the opener against Chicago, Brunell entered the game and reassumed the starting role. It was as if Gibbs was looking for an excuse to make the move, and Brunell justified it with two late touchdown bombs to stun Dallas in Week 2.

Ramsey got into only three games the rest of last season, throwing just 14 passes.

Notes — A day after Washington replaced him by signing Adam Archuleta, 2004-05 starting strong safety Ryan Clark signed a four-year contract with the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. ESPN reported the contract value at $7 million with a $1.7 million signing bonus.

“It’s a wonderful day,” Clark said. “I was at the airport, swinging my terrible towel. I was with a team with a great fan base now — they’re going to hate me for this — but I’m with a team with an even better one. The beauty of it is I’m coming to a team that’s already great. I’ll just try to fit in and be part of this great organization.” …

The Redskins freed up more in cap room by converting cornerback Shawn Springs’ $3.1 million roster bonus into a signing bonus that can be prorated over the final four years of his contract. …

While Renaldo Wynn seems likely to lose his starting job with yesterday’s signing of former San Francisco defensive end Andre Carter, Wynn’s agent, Peter Schaffer said, “If it helps the team win, Renaldo is all for it.”

Wynn, also the Redskins’ union representative, was traveling and couldn’t be reached for comment.

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