- The Washington Times - Friday, March 6, 2015

Niles Paul has signed a new contract with the Washington Redskins, avoiding free agency four days before the start of the signing period is set to begin.

Paul, a tight end, confirmed the signing via text message. His agency also announced the signing on Twitter.

“Very relieved,” Paul wrote in a text message. “Happy to be home.”

The contract is, according to multiple national reports, for three years and can fetch Paul, with incentives, up to $10 million. His four-year rookie contract, signed after he was drafted out of Nebraska in the fifth round in 2011, would have expired when the new league year opens on Tuesday.

A valuable special teams player, Paul saw increased time on offense this past season in the wake of injuries to starter Jordan Reed, playing roughly 53 percent of all snaps and making seven starts over all 16 games. He caught 39 passes for 507 yards and a touchdown in 2014, a breakout year, after having 14 catches for 228 yards and a touchdown in his first three seasons combined.

Paul is the first of the Redskins‘ 13 unrestricted free agents to sign a new contract with the team. Strong safety Duke Ihenacho, an exclusive rights free agent, was the first player to return to the team on a new contract when he did so earlier in the week.

According to the NFLPA, the Redskins‘ salary cap for the 2014 season will be $146,591,745. The team is projected to have approximately $25 million to spend on players this offseason.

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