Washington Redskins coaches lamented their dearth of playmakers at the end of a 5-11 season. During the opening hours of free agency Tuesday, the organization aggressively attempted to remedy that by overhauling their corps of wide receivers.
The Redskins agreed to terms with Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. They are relatively young receivers Washington acquired to complement the quarterback they’ll draft second-overall next month.
Garcon, a four-year veteran from the Indianapolis Colts, agreed to a five-year deal worth $42.5 million, including $20.5 million guaranteed, according to a source with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because neither side publicized terms of the deal.
Morgan, a four-year veteran from the San Francisco 49ers, agreed to a contract that is effectively a two-year deal. It is structured as a five-year contract in order to spread out bonus money, but the final three years will void, according to ProFootballTalk.com. It reportedly is worth $12 million, including $7.5 million in guarantees.
The Redskins’ spending wasn’t limited to the offense. They re-signed defensive end Adam Carriker to a four-year, $20 million contract extension an hour after he became a free agent. However, Washington did not prevent linebacker London Fletcher from becoming a free agent.
The agreements were part of a wild day that began with the Redskins having $18 million deducted from their 2012 salary cap as part of a penalty the NFL handed down. They entered free agency with approximately $17 million in 2012 cap space.
The Redskins got their premier wideout by agreeing with Garcon less than an hour into free agency. His deal includes an $11 million signing bonus and pays out more than $27 million in the first three years.
It quickly became clear they targeted Garcon over San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson. One source said the Redskins never pursued Jackson with intent to sign him. Jackson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $26 million guaranteed over five years later Tuesday night.
Garcon’s contract is more expensive than the reported terms of the deal Marques Colston signed with the New Orleans Saints before free agency opened Tuesday. Several outlets reported it was worth $40 million with $19 million guaranteed over five years.
Garcon, who will be 26 on opening day, had 70 catches for 947 yards and six touchdowns last season despite the Colts’ quarterback nightmare. He is expected to compete for the starting split end, or X receiver, position, which Santana Moss played last season.
He averaged 5.2 yards after the catch last season, compared to Moss’ 3.8.
Garcon announced the signing on his Facebook page. He flew to Northern Virginia on Tuesday night. The deal is contingent upon him passing a physical.
“I wanted you all to hear it from me 1st before u saw it on the news…. I will be signing with the Washington Redskins and I’m very excited about the opportunity in front of me,” Garcon wrote.
Morgan, who will be 27 on opening day, played in only five games last season because of a broken ankle. In four seasons for the San Francisco 49ers, he averaged 13.5 yards per catch. He has 131 catches for 1,764 yards and nine touchdowns in his career.
Morgan starred at H.D. Woodson High in the District and played at Virginia Tech.
The Redskins also are negotiating with receiver Eddie Royal, a source said. The product of Westfield High in Chantilly and Virginia Tech would reunite with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan
Royal, who will be 26 on opening day, had 91 catches for 980 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie playing for Shanahan in Denver in 2008. In three seasons since Shanahan left, however, Royal has totaled only 115 catches for 1,127 yards.
The Redskins prioritized re-signing Carriker to ensure stability in its formidable front seven. His deal includes $7 million guaranteed, according to the NFL Network.
Carriker, who will be 28 on opening day, had a career-high 5.5 sacks last season. He is expected to keep his starting left defensive end position, with second-year end Jarvis Jenkins serving as the top reserve and a swing end.
“The coaches and I know what to expect with each other,” Carriker said. “We work well with each other. And as far as the defense, it fits me and what I do physically and mentally.”