Pete Kendall is a week away from unemployment, but the Washington Redskins‘ cagey guard is typically unfazed by the prospect of not having a contract.
“It’s all quiet on the eastern front, but I’m not panicking,” Kendall said from his offseason home in Massachusetts. “I want to be back with the Redskins, and my understanding is that they want me back, but I understand that a 35-year-old guard isn’t their top priority at this point.”
Indeed, the Redskins still need to reduce their payroll by about $4 million to reach the $123 million salary cap limit by midnight Feb. 27. Washington also doesn’t want to let two-time Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who joined the team in November, hit the market. And defensive end Demetric Evans, also a prospective free agent, is more likely to leave than Kendall.
The agents for Hall and Evans are scheduled to meet with Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato at this week’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. It’s not certain whether Cerrato will meet with Kendall’s agent, Neil Schwartz, but again, that’s no big deal to the 13-year veteran.
“I have no hard feelings if my number’s not being served at the deli yet,” Kendall said. “I’m not going to be waiting for a phone call at midnight on Feb. 27 if we don’t have a deal done by then. I think everything’s going to work out.”
Coach Jim Zorn and offensive line coach Joe Bugel have told Kendall they would like him back. While Kendall will turn 36 in July and has chronically aching knees, he hasn’t missed a snap during his two seasons in Washington. He played so well the first half of last season as the Redskins got off to a 6-2 start that there was talk of him being a Pro Bowl selection.
Kendall has been an unrestricted free agent only once during his long career. That happened in 2001, when he left Seattle after the expiration of the five-year contract he had signed as the 21st overall selection in the 1996 draft. Kendall signed that March with Arizona, which cut him after three years. After joining the Jets, he became embroiled in a contract dispute with the team in 2007 and was dealt to Washington for a fourth-round pick in this April’s draft.
Kendall earned $3.05 million in 2008, the second season of a two-year contract. He believes another multiyear contract makes sense for both sides despite his age since it would spread out the signing bonus, which was $4 million in his last deal.