Redskins, Brunell close to Deal?
By: Mark Solway 
Posted: 2004-02-18
Category: Washington Redskins News
Various news sources are reporting today that the Washington Redskins and the Jacksonville Jaguars are very close to completing a trade agreement for quarterback Mark Brunell. While the trade cannot take place until the first day of the NFL's year, March 3rd, it is believed the deal in the works is for Washington's third round draft pick. The Redskins are the only team that has been granted permission by Jacksonville to talk to Brunell as the Jaguars insisted that any team that talk to the QB, offer him a contract.

Exactly what that contract is remains to be seen. Most reports have Brunell asking for about a $20 million deal, but term of the contract have been either 3 or 4 years. The Redskins do have $6.4 million of available cap space, but they have to address Champ Bailey and all of their other needs with that money. They will get reprieve from resolving Bruce Smith's contract as well, up to $6.5 million or more, but the front office knows that it has other holes to fill. The Redskins are reportedly seeking a longer term contract, 7 years, obviously to be able to pro rate a signing bonus over a longer term. Brunell turns 34 in 2004 so it is very doubtful that he is expected to play out a 7-year term, but by giving him a larger signing bonus and a longer term, they will be able to have a minimal salary each year, thus making the cap hit small.

Look for about an $8 million signing bonus, that will pro rate out to just over $1 million in cap hit per year. The danger of such a deal is trying to get at least a few serviceable seasons out of the player. Losing Brunell after one season would have devastating cap effects as the entire bonus would be accelerated and the Redskins would be left with $7 million in dead cap money.

If the Redskins do trade their 3rd round pick in the 2004 draft, they will be left with just 3 picks again, the same as they had in 2003.

Brunell coming to Washington will certainly shore up the quarterback position. Much ado has been made on the effect that the move will have on young Patrick Ramsey. Joe Gibbs made it known when he got here that he believed in having depth at quarterback, and Gibbs is a man of his word. Brunell and Ramsey would together form a good stable and Gibbs has stated that he would have an 'open competition' for the starter's position. Ramsey stated that he welcomed the arrangement. Will Brunell? You have to figure that Gibbs told Brunell that when they met last week, and it's doubtful that Gibbs would have pursued a contract otherwise.

With the right contract, and the right attitude from Brunell, this has the potential to be a solid move for the franchise. While there are definitely aspects that can go wrong, the upside can be huge. Competition at quarterback... a very capable backup regardless of which person it is, and a veteran leader helping mold a great young prospect.

-- Boss Hog
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