- The Washington Times - Friday, December 26, 2008

In Carlos Rogers, Shawn Springs, DeAngelo Hall and Fred Smoot, the Washington Redskins have four cornerbacks worthy of being starters.

The question now is who is going to be back in 2009.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in the league that has that kind of talent just because of [salary] cap issues,” Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. “It’s hard to put that much talent together. You might luck into it once a while with rookies but not with experienced players.”

Sunday’s regular-season finale at San Francisco will be only the fifth time the four corners have played together, and it also could be the last. Only Rogers, enjoying his best season at 27, is sure to return next season. Springs, who missed significant time with injuries this season, turns 34 in March and counts $8.48 million against next year’s cap. Smoot, who turns 30 in April, counts $4.15 million against the cap, a high price for a backup. Hall, 25, who signed with Washington last month after Oakland cut him, will be a free agent in March.

“I know at the most there’ll be three of us [here],” Smoot said. “[DeAngelo] and [Rogers] would most definitely be good for the future. I don´t think you can pair up two more better.”

Springs, who has had a tempestuous relationship with management in recent years, said he wants to remain with the Redskins but isn’t sure whether he will.

“We’re in a recession - I’ll work anywhere,” he joked. “The organization has to do what’s best for them to win.”

That could mean Springs moving to safety, where he has seen some time this year in what he termed “a natural progression,” citing the example of likely 2009 Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, who made that move after age 32. The Redskins are set at free safety with LaRon Landry, but Springs could allow 2008 rookie strong safety Chris Horton, who supplanted Reed Doughty as the starter in September, to become more of a situational player.

But as Blache said, “When Shawn Springs is healthy, he’s a pretty darn good corner.”

Springs’ fate could depend on what happens with Hall, who regrets leaving Atlanta for a huge contract with Oakland in March.

“I’m really enjoying it here, and I want to stay, but if we don’t get something done by March 1, then I’ll be open to anything,” said the Chesapeake, Va., native, whose agent has had some talks with the Redskins. “If that happens, I won’t go for the most money right away. I did that last year, and it didn’t work out. I’ll take my time and choose the situation that’s best for me.”

Then there’s Smoot, who started nine of the first 12 games because Springs was hurt. Smoot left Washington for Minnesota in 2005 after his contract talks with the Redskins went south. He said he doesn’t want to leave again.

“I don´t think that,” Smoot said when asked whether he believes Sunday will be his final game as a Redskins player. “I don´t feel like I felt [in 2004]. That time I knew it was inevitable.”

Trio weigh return

Defensive tackles Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery and kicker Shaun Suisham, Washington’s most prominent restricted free agents, all hope to re-sign with the Redskins. Clubs have the right to match any offers to restricted free agents. Doughty, who is on injured reserve as he recovers from back surgery, is also a restricted free agent and would like to return.

Everyone practices

All 53 players took part in practice Thursday. Middle linebacker London Fletcher (foot) and left guard Pete Kendall (knees) returned after resting Wednesday. Right tackle Jon Jansen (knee) increased his workload after he did limited work Wednesday and is on schedule to play Sunday for the first time since suffering an injury Dec. 7 at Baltimore. Jansen said his knee felt good. Coach Jim Zorn said if Jansen plays Sunday, he would regain his starting spot from Jason Fabini.

Golston, who missed three of the past four games with bone spurs in his right ankle, was limited for a second straight day but is expected to play.

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