ASHBURN, Va. (AP) —Start with the trade of Donovan McNabb. Add the signing of Barry Cofield. Throw in a host of 30-something receivers: Jabar Gaffney, Donte’ Stallworth, Brandon Stokley and Santana Moss. Oh, yeah, there’s also Kellen Clemens and the quarterback quandary, plus Josh Wilson at cornerback.
It’s hard for even the players to follow the frenzy of news surrounding the Washington Redskins.
“By the time I get to Redskin Park look like I will see a whole new team,” defensive end Phillip Daniels said Wednesday on Twitter. “Deals are fast and furious.”
Not all of the deals were complete and some won’t be official until Friday afternoon, according to the rules implemented at the end of the NFL lockout, but the Redskins — like all their competitors — were moving quickly to reshape their roster.
Near the top of the list was the need to get rid of the distraction duo of McNabb and Albert Haynesworth, whose various tribulations helped drag down the team during coach Mike Shanahan’s first season in Washington. McNabb was sent to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2012 sixth-round draft pick and a conditional sixth-rounder in 2013, according to two people with knowledge of the transaction who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because McNabb has yet to officially sign his restructured contract.
McNabb’s departure closes the book on Shanahan’s first major Redskins gaffe. He gave up second- and fourth-round draft picks for McNabb last year but ended up benching the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback for the final three games of a 6-10 season.
“He was going to come in and really help us win more games, but it didn’t work out,” Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “Relationships broke down, and now he’s not here, but you can’t really focus on that. You’ve got to continue to move forward.”
Haynesworth remains on the roster — at least for the time being — but the Redskins found a replacement in Cofield, who agreed to a six-year, $36 million contract with $12.5 million guaranteed. Cofield has been a steady contributor up front for the New York Giants for five seasons, although he’ll have to make the transition to nose tackle in Washington’s 3-4 scheme.
“He’s explosive, he gets off the ball, he’s relentless,” Alexander said. “Those are the types of things you need in a D-tackle. And you don’t really hear too much about him complaining. A lot of the other guys get all the glory, but he’s down there doing all the grunt work and that’s what you need in a nose tackle.”
The Redskins faced uncertainty at receiver when the lockout ended, and Shanahan’s theory seems to be to address it with a swarm of experience in hoping that something works out.
Moss was first, agreeing to a new deal to remain in Washington. The 32-year-old wideout will sign a three-year, $15 million contract that includes a $5 million signing bonus, keeping a respected veteran in the locker room.
The 30-year-old Stallworth is set to sign a one-year deal. He caught only two passes with the Baltimore Ravens in 2010 after sitting out much of the year with a broken foot, and he was suspended for the previous season after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter. His best season came in 2005, when he caught 70 passes for 945 yards for New Orleans.
“It will be fun,” Stallworth told Scout.com. “I know Santana Moss, too. It will be a good chance for me to do some things. ... I’m not asking for a handout. I just want to show what I can do.”
The Redskins kept adding to the stockpile of receivers by acquiring Gaffney from the Denver Broncos in exchange for defensive end Jeremy Jarmon.
The 30-year-old Gaffney has 375 receptions over nine NFL seasons with Houston, New England and Denver. He is coming off the best back-to-back seasons of his career: 54 catches for 732 yards in 2009 and 65 catches for 875 yards last year.
“It shocked me. I didn’t have any clue it was going to happen,” Gaffney said. “There’s going to be a lot of crazy things going on.”
Gaffney made unwanted news last year when he provided the gun that teammate Kenny McKinley used to commit suicide. Gaffney said he sold the gun to McKinley legally.
“I think that as sad as it is for him leaving, I’m happy for him because it’s a fresh start,” Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd said. “And it’s a vacancy that they need. They need a consistent, every-down pass-catcher on that team, a bigger guy. They got a whole bunch of little receivers and they need a bigger guy there to catch the ball and be consistent, be tough, not miss practice, not miss games.”
Jarmon, selected by the Redskins in the third round of the 2009 supplemental draft, was an odd man out when Washington switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme last season, fitting in neither as a defensive end nor as a pass-rushing outside linebacker. He played in 16 games over two seasons, totaling just 11 tackles.
A sign of how frenzied the day was: News of the Gaffney-Jarmon trade came while Alexander was chatting with reporters.
“Oh, really? Jarmon’s a good dude. I liked Jarmon. He was a hard worker,” Alexander said. “Best wishes to him, wherever he landed. Where did he go?”
But the Redskins were far from done. They also agreed to a one-year deal with 35-year-old free agent Stokley, who had 31 catches for 354 yards last year with the Seattle Seahawks.
When all the receivers finally get together for a practice, it will be a battle of old vs. new for playing time. Second-year player Anthony Armstrong should again vie for a starting spot, and the Redskins also selected three wideouts — Leonard Hankerson, Niles Paul and Aldrick Robinson — in the April draft.
Even more intriguing is the Redskins’ quarterback situation. ESPN reported that the team has agreed to a one-year deal with Clemens, a backup for the New York Jets for the last five seasons.
The Redskins are also expected to re-sign Rex Grossman, who would compete with John Beck for the starting job. The quarterback threesome of Beck-Grossman-Clemens has combined for just five NFL starts over the last three years. Beck is such an unknown that Gaffney paused when asked about him.
“Uh, I have to get to know a lot more about him,” Gaffney said.
Late in the day, the Redskins also reached an agreement with former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Wilson. His contract will be worth $13.5 million over three years with $9 million guaranteed, according to ESPN.
The Redskins were also working to sign their 12 draft picks, including first-round pick Ryan Kerrigan. Players report to training camp Thursday, with the first practice on Friday.