Perhaps hoping to ratchet up the Mark Brunell trade talks to a new and more urgent level, the Redskins dispatched chief negotiator and salary cap manager Eric Schaffer to Los Angeles to meet with agent Leigh Steinberg, ESPN.com has learned.
But while the Redskins attempt to heat up the trade discussions, they may also be stoking the flames of discord, with incumbent quarterback Patrick Ramsey apparently miffed by the possibility of being nudged from the top perch on the depth chart. The Redskins' first-round choice in the 2002 draft, Ramsey huddled with some Washington assistant coaches Monday and refused to be appeased by rationalizations on the potential Brunell addition.
The organization apparently is attempting spin control with Ramsey, especially since the Redskins were trying to fly under the radar on a proposed Brunell deal with Jacksonville. The young quarterback, though, is having none of it.
Coach Joe Gibbs met with Ramsey last Friday to apprise him of the team's interest in an unnamed veteran quarterback. But as framed by Gibbs to Ramsey, the unnamed veteran would probably be a backup-type player who might compete for the starting job.
Given that Ramsey is well regarded around the league, and was presumed to be the Redskins' quarterback of not only the present but the future, his disillusionment hardly is surprising. Neither will it come as a shock if Ramsey requests a trade should the Redskins acquire Brunell. After all, that move likely would make the third-year veteran a backup in Washington.
If the Redskins ever put Ramsey on the trade market, they would certainly find buyers, and could possibly recoup any draft choices expended on the Brunell acquisition.
The Redskins, or any other team that deals for Brunell, almost certainly will expect him to agree to a new, multiyear contract before consummating a trade. But even with the Redskins continuing to set the pace in pursuit of Brunell -- Gibbs huddled with the veteran quarterback on Monday evening in advance of Schaffer's visit with Steinberg -- a trade does not appear imminent.
That is largely because the Jaguars, in no hurry and confident now they will be able to deal Brunell and not have to release him with no compensation, are trying to raise the ante and cut the best deal possible. The basic rationale of the Jaguars is that with more suitors, Jacksonville can play one off against the other.
While there have been various reports that there are four teams interested in Brunell -- San Diego, Dallas and Miami, in addition to the Redskins -- that might be a bit inflated. Team sources said Miami, which doesn't own the second-round choice the Jags seem to want in return for Brunell, are not a major player in the bidding. And Dallas only is interested in Brunell if he is released.
Jacksonville officials, though, have done a superb job of embellishing the level of interest in the 11-year veteran quarterback and that has helped raise his price tag.
Washington officials could suffer further ramifications, beyond Ramsey's ire, if they add Brunell via trade. In an effort to create salary cap room, the Redskins have been trying for some time to rework the contract of left offensive tackle Chris Samuels, who carries cap charges of $8.749 million in 2004 and $9.642 million for 2005.
The connection between the Ramsey and Samuels situations: Both are represented by the same agent, Jimmy Sexton, whose clients have provided cap relief for the Redskins the last couple of seasons. The club's desire to restructure the Samuels deal may mean leverage for Sexton if Ramsey demands a trade.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.