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News » Off-season titles yield little Despite their spending sprees, Redskins still chasing rest of East


Off-season titles yield little Despite their spending sprees, Redskins still chasing rest of East


Off-season titles yield little Despite their spending sprees, Redskins still chasing rest of East
You could hear the champagne corks popping at Redskins Park from as far north as New York and as far west as Dallas.


The Washington Redskins did it again Friday, capturing another NFL off-season championship with the dramatic signing of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year, $100 million contract on the opening day of Free Agency.

Haynesworth was the biggest name and best player available this off-season, and Washington needed to guarantee more than $40 million of his contract to secure his services. That's a staggering sum to pay to a player who doesn't touch the Football.

The Redskins also locked up one of their own free agents, veteran Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall, with a six-year, $54 million contract. More than $22 million of his deal was guaranteed.

When the calendar flips to February and March, there is no more aggressive nor proficient team in the NFL than the Redskins. They annually spend the most money and sign the biggest names. That's owner Dan Snyder's style.

But the flash of winter does not translate into substance in the fall. You can't buy a championship in Football. With 22 starters, there are too many moving parts. Snyder's millions have delivered only two playoff appearances and one postseason victory this decade.

So excuse the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants for adopting a ho-hum attitude concerning this latest free-agent foray by the Redskins. The NFC East rivals have been down this off-season road before.

The Redskins won their last division title in 1999 with a 10-6 record. Snyder plotted to vault his team from division champion to Super Bowl champion in 2000 with his checkbook. He was going to close the deal with an off-season that would devastate his rivals.

Snyder signed free-agent cornerback Deion Sanders to a seven-year, $56 million contract that included an $8 million signing bonus.

He signed pass rusher Bruce Smith to a five-year, $23 million deal that included a $4.25 million signing bonus. He gave quarterback Jeff George a four-year, $18.2 million contract and Pro Bowl safety Mark Carrier a five-year, $15.9 million deal.

On paper, the Redskins were the best team in the NFC East and one of the five most talented teams in the NFL in 2000. On the field, they were only the third-best team in the East. Washington retreated in the standings despite that huge payroll, finishing 8-8.

The Redskins signed wide receiver Laveranues Coles to a seven-year, $35 million contract in 2003 that included a $13 million signing bonus.In 2004, Snyder wrote checks totaling $25.5 million in signing bonuses to cornerback Shawn Springs ($10.2 million), defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin ($8.3 million) and linebacker Marcus Washington ($7 million).

Snyder gave linebacker London Fletcher a $10 million signing bonus in 2007. Wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, safety Adam Archuleta and guard Randy Thomas cashed signing bonuses in excess of $5 million in Free Agency this decade.

So don't expect the arrival of Haynesworth to tilt the balance of power away from the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys in the NFC East in 2009.

His contract may drive prices up league-wide for elite defenders - attention Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware - and quality linemen - attention Chris Canty. That may pain the Cowboys.

But the only pain the Redskins inflict and the only success they enjoy seems to come in February and March.

Pittsburgh signed three free agents last off-season to contracts totaling $9.5 million, including $2.3 million in signing bonuses. Only one of those three players started, but the Steelers finished 2008 as the best team in the NFL.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 1, 2009

Greg Lewis Name: Greg Lewis
#83
Position: WR
Age: 28
Experience: 6 years
College: Illinois
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