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Smoot is Gone

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Old 01-04-2005, 01:25 PM   #1
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Smoot is Gone

When I first heard in week 10 of the season that the Redskins and Fred Smoot had begun contract negotiations, I was almost certain that a deal would get done. Gregg Williams' blitzing defense relies on a strong secondary that can cover, thereby freeing up linebackers to blitz, and rush the passer. Fred Smoot has been a locker room leader and team spokesman. Smoot brokered the deal between Clinton Portis and Ifeyani Ohalete which resulted in Portis getting the number 26 from Ohalete for $40,000. Smoot talked to the press when others refused to do so. Smoot was always upbeat about the franchise, the D.C. area, and Redskins fans. Smoot has been a Redskin longer than everyone on the team save Chris Samuels and LaVar Arrington. Gibbs has always said he's looking for a core group of Redskins and Smoot is at the center of that core.

However, after listening to Gibbs' statements to the press and keeping my ear to the ground for any scuttlebutt about Smoot's contract negotiations I am convinced that Smoot is as good as gone. Without solid evidence to support this claim, I believe that last offseason, the Redskins front office acquired former first-round pick Walt Harris to replace Smoot. Harris, who was rehabbing an injured knee, is cheap and has proven himself in Chicago and Indianapolis as an adequate starting cornerback.

If the acquisition of Harris isn't enough to convince you that Smoot is as good as gone, according to the Washington Post, Smoot has been offered a deal with about $10-11 million in guaranteed money whereas he is seeking a deal giving him a $14 million signing bonus. They're not just hammering away at the details - they're miles apart with only 6 weeks left before the start of free agency. Moreover, the negotiations, as far as I know, have not recommenced after breaking down several weeks ago.

Additionally, Gibbs told the press corps in his final post-game press conference of the season that even though he'd like to retain Smoot, he's not going to offer a contract to a player if he think's that player's demands are unreasonable. He was sending a clear message to Smoot's agent; "you're offer is unreasonable and we're not going to agree to it." Sure, he could just have been jockeying for a bargaining position in negotiations, but I distinctly got the impression that Smoot isn't coming back.

Finally, I think Smoot's recent statements about the progress of contract negotiations, or lack thereof, are indicative of how wide the chasm is between the Redskins' and Smoot's offers and needs. I don't think Smoot was just trying to wage a media war by threatening to leave. Antonio Pierce and Chris Samuels are in the midst of contract negotiations and yet both have expressed a high degree of confidence that they would complete deals soon. Smoot has been saying that he wants to be a Redskin since he's been here. He didn't just start negotiating with the front office, so I doubt that the very recent change in his statements about the chances of him resigning is just a negotiating tactic. According to many reporters (i.e. Nunyo Demasiyo and Bram Weinstein), he genuinely seems down. To me that says he doesn't think he'll be back.

With Smoot as good as gone, the Redskins front office is in full damage control mode. I anticipate they'll begin pushing very hard to renegotiate Samuels contract ASAP to enable the team to slap a franchise tag on Smoot. Samuels and the front office want a new deal and are optimistic about getting one done. Then the front office will slap the franchise tag on Smoot, and look for possible trading partners.

I doubt the Redskins would find anyone willing to offer up more than a very low first round or high second round draft pick. The Saints might be a good team to target for a trade. The Saints acquired our 2nd round pick (41st overall) last offseason for their third round pick in last year's draft. The Saints acquired Mike McKenzie just before the trade deadlines this season to bolster their secondary, but he hasn't been solid at corner. With a second round pick, the Redskins would have a shot to draft CB Corey Webster, TE Alex Smith, DT Antaaj Hawthorne or some other player who could be an excellent back-up or a solid starter. Another alternative would be to trade Smoot for DE Darren Howard (who too will likely be slapped with a franchise tag).

No matter what the Redskins' front office does, be prepared Redskins fans, Smoot is leaving.
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:35 PM   #2
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Smoot has ran his mouth so much about wanting to be a redskins and that he wants to be a core player that hes going to have to come down to whats hes worth. If anythign Smoot has said is true then he should be back. But it does seem like money has become more important to him and that he probably isnt coming back. Walt Harris and Springs are both solid, but are getting old. We could probably do without smoot for now but we should keep him. Hes young and we groomed him all these years with Bailey and Green.
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Old 01-04-2005, 02:11 PM   #3
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I was suprised by Smoots comments a couple weeks ago. He said he talked w/ Champ and its the same thing we did to him. He took the approach if we want him there we will pay him. We've offered to pay him amongst the top 10 cb's in the league. I think that is fair. I want to see him signed but if he wants to go let him. We would have made Champ the highest cb in the league (i believe), he just took a better offer.
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Old 01-04-2005, 02:35 PM   #4
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I will be real let down if Smoot leaves. He is one of the nicest players I have ever met.I just got the jersey he signed along with a signed 8x10 and a picture of me and him framed, it will make me sick to look at that and think he is no longer a redskin. When I first met Fred he just seemed like he was a REAL redskin and he was with Champ who didn't. I would rather see Samuels get traded for a pick or a solid tackle. I also believe we could find a tackle in a later round of the draft that would be solid without spending so much money. Maybe if he restructures it will free up some room to get Smoot, if not I wish him well.
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Old 01-04-2005, 02:47 PM   #5
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Just as I loved Champ even after he left, I will still cheer for Smoot if he's gone (except when/if he ever plays the Skins)... I hope our fellow fans won't start bashing him if he gets a bunch more money elsewhere- it was not too long ago that Smoot was the poster boy for the Washington Redskins. If he can find someone to overpay for him, more power to him.
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Old 01-04-2005, 02:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ramseyfan
"With a second round pick, the Redskins would have a shot to draft CB Corey Webster, TE Alex Smith, DT Antaaj Hawthorne or some other player who could be an excellent back-up or a solid starter."
That was an excellent post, Ramseyfan. Well thought out, and I fear you're exactly right about Smoot. The only area we may differ on is the need to draft a tight end. I feel like that's an area we should absolutely avoid, as there are other priorities in desperate need of attention -- such as -- all along the offensive line. Chris Samuels is still in question, patience is wearing thin with Derrick Dockery, and the center position is screaming for attention.

Not only that, good blocking tight ends are practically everywhere and can easily be found through undrafted free agency.
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Old 01-04-2005, 02:57 PM   #7
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I may be in the minority here but I am okay with losing Smoot as long as we can at least get a high draft pick for him. The Redskins have cap trouble coming soon and are going to need to make tough choices so they may as well start now. If Smoot gets a big contract now someone else is going to get squezed out on down the line. I like Smoot, but I would not give him a 14 million dollar signing bonus.
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:17 PM   #8
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you cant call a guy a core redskin when his first priority is money. NFL's minimum wage will pay for anybodys bills. i like the guy, but springs has just played much better and i dont see a major drop off from him in the next few years. i would as well like to see wilds and harris play cb and try to see if we can get springs at safety. there has been talk of that between coaches and springs. and he has the body to do that. so i would like our team to find a DE and a CB for the future.
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jrocx69
you cant call a guy a core redskin when his first priority is money. NFL's minimum wage will pay for anybodys bills.
It's not about paying his bills this is probably the last big contract he is gonna get. he wants to be set for life.
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:24 PM   #10
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When I heard Smoot say Bailey has been in his ear I knew things were going to be interesting. And when he said it's never the player and it's always the front office, I definitely knew things were going to be interesting.

If I had to put money on it I'd say he's gone.
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:29 PM   #11
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jrocx: It'll pay anyone's bills sure. However, what's the average career length of a CB. He's trying to get enough cash to put his kids into school and to have plenty to retire on and leave his children. I love Smoot, but I don't think he's a top 10 CB in the league. I want us to keep him, but if we have to deal him we better get SOMETHING for him. I wish Smoot the best, but he knows his home is Washington.
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:43 PM   #12
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I Don't want to lose him at all but we can't go overboard to keep him.

A couple people have mentioned that this is about money and that that is sad. I would say that the money isn't the real issue or problem. These guys(all football players really) see money as a sign of respect. They want to feel that their team is going to do right by them when they have played well. This is probably a good way to judge respect...the problem is the agents are the ones who determine what "respect" is. The contracts for football players are so convuluted by salary cap work arounds and such that most players(and normal people too) could never understand who is making what and when. They basically only understand their own contract. The agents decide what they think their client is worth and that is the number they tell the player they should get. When the team doesn't offer that money then the players feel disrespected since they have been told and they now believe they are worth more. But often the numbers agents shoot for are unrealistic. It is very common for guys in Smoots position to end up signing an only marginally better offer from another team simply because the agent has created such uneeded acrimony between the player and team. If we offer say(this is only hypothetical) $40 million over 6 years with $11 million SB and they get pissed then he'll probably end up with maybe $43 million over 6 years with 12 million SB. Now I'd bet a lot of guys, and especially guys like Smoot who seem genuine and loyal, would take the first contract in a normal situation out loyalty and comfort but with all the acrimony stirred in by agents they walk for basically $1 million more. Sad really.

My wife worked with a sports representation firm while in law school and it was common for agents to attempt to "PURPOSEFULLY" create the acrimony so that the player would not take a smaller contract out of loyalty. These guys are ruining professional sports. The agent remuneration model in professional sports needs to be altered.
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:48 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by aehs77
It's not about paying his bills this is probably the last big contract he is gonna get. he wants to be set for life.
This COULD be his last big contract but if he stays only averagely healthy then he'll restructure in about 3 or 4 years and get more guranteed money.

That is a a question I have...why don't we restructure everyone every year so we can get their base salaries spread out. If we did this every year from now until eternity it would never catch up with us. Cannuck needs to do some math on this...although I imagine if it were feasible then everyone would do it. Maybe there is a rule about restructuring only every so often? I seem to remember that you must play under a contract for at least year before restructuring.
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Old 01-04-2005, 06:04 PM   #14
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I say he will be back, right now he know's he's a fan favorite and he's using that in the public to try and force the skin's hand into a bigger contract than he merit's, I want to see the team that is going to give him a 14 million dollar signing bonus, it aint happening, once he realizes that other team's are not going to throw that kind of money at him he will come to his senses and sign where he want's to be, I would be shocked if he left I think our offer is more than fair, I believe he's just playing the role trying to make management and the fan's believe he will leave if he doesn't get his mega buck signing bonus. Management should stay pat with that offer it's a great offer no one else will better it.
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Old 01-04-2005, 08:48 PM   #15
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I will not be OVERSOLD or OVERPAY for a player..............this money thing sounds like Sprewell's ridiculous statement that he didn't know how he would feed his kids on 9 million a year......what does he feed them caviar.......what's interesting about these big contracts.....they backload them and the player is cut or traded before he can realize the big bucks.....wouldn't it be better to take a little less money and play for an organization you like, teammates you like, and of course it would have to be a winning organization or a team that looks promising to have a shot at a Super Bowl in the near future......and that's the part that could lure Smoot away.......he could leave to play for a potential winner and shot at the Super Bowl......'course Redskins could franchise tag him, but then what effort would he give the orgainization..........
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