- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2009

Cornerback Kevin Barnes agreed to a four-year deal with the Washington Redskins on Thursday, leaving first-rounder Brian Orakpo the only April draft pick without a contract.

“I’ve been watching other guys around the league sign, so it’s a relief to finally get it done,” said Barnes, whose contract includes a $782,000 signing bonus. “And it’s a little more money than I expected.”

Barnes, a third-round selection from Maryland whose 2008 season ended after seven games with injuries to his left shoulder and collarbone, is expected to compete with Justin Tryon for the No. 4 cornerback spot.

“By the end of minicamp, I knew I could play at this level,” Barnes said. “And then I just kept getting better during [organized team activities].”

Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato said Barnes made big strides during the final OTAs in early June.

“It was like a light came on, so Kevin was just playing instead of thinking all the time,” Cerrato said. “He had four interceptions and was really breaking on the ball.”

DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers are Washington’s starting corners, and former regular Fred Smoot is the nickel back. Practice squad veteran Byron Westbrook and rookie free agent Doug Dutch are the team’s other corners. Barnes also figures to play extensively on special teams, where the 6-foot, 187-pounder was a regular for the Terps.

“Kevin’s a tall, rangy corner who can really run with really good hands,” cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray said.

Gray said Barnes had the top score on the Wonderlic test at February’s scouting combine. And the Glen Burnie, Md., native is physical, as California’s Jahvid Best can attest. Barnes smacked him so hard in September that the star running back began vomiting.

“Like any rookie, Kevin’s going to have to get used to the physical toll this game takes on your body for 16 weeks,” Gray said. “But he’s in a great position because he can learn from our older guys instead of having to play [on defense] right away.”

The Redskins hadn’t drafted a Maryland player as high as Barnes since they chose quarterback Ed Vereb in the first round in 1956. Offensive linemen Stephon Heyer, Edwin Williams and Scott Burley, all of whom played with Barnes in College Park, are also on the roster. Only Miami (Fla.) has as many former players on the Redskins: running back Clinton Portis, receiver Santana Moss, defensive tackle Antonio Dixon and linebacker Rocky McIntosh.

To make room for Barnes, the Redskins cut rookie defensive end Derek Walker. Anticipating Orakpo’s signing by the time training camp opens Thursday, Washington released rookie receiver Jaison Williams.

Jeremy Jarmon, a defensive end out of Kentucky whom the Redskins selected in last week’s supplemental draft, also remains unsigned.

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