'Skins intent on dealing Bailey

Several teams are interested in adding Redskins four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey, but there is a stumbling block.

Updated: February 22, 2004, 3:04 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Several teams are interested in acquiring four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey from the Redskins, but there is a stumbling block.

It appears that owner Daniel Snyder can't decide just what it will take from one of the cornerback's several suitors to make a trade pan out for Washington, and what level of compensation will allow the Redskins some degree of spin control if forced to rationalize his departure.

Bailey's agent, Jack Reale, had extensive discussions with four to six teams here before departing late Friday afternoon. Reale is seemingly convinced there are teams prepared right now to pay the price to sign Bailey to a hefty contract.

There seems to be a sliding scale Snyder is tossing out to teams. For the Detroit Lions, who own the sixth overall choice in the 2004 draft, a first-round pick might be enough, since the choice is so high. For a team with a lower choice in the first round, Snyder will demand more, like an additional second- or third-rounder.

One thing that remains obvious, officials from other teams concur, is that the Redskins will eventually send Bailey elsewhere for a couple of reasons. First, Snyder simply doesn't like him anymore. Something about a perception that Bailey doesn't really want to be a Redskins player for life. Second, the economics will dictate a deal.

Because the team has already placed the "franchise" designation on him, Bailey counts $6.801 million against the Redskins salary cap for 2004. As of Friday, according to NFL salary documents, Washington has, counting Bailey's charge, $79.851 million against its 2004 cap. That is only about $1 million below the spending ceiling.

Washington will get cap relief when defensive end Bruce Smith, who carries a tag of $8.84 million, officially retires. But even then, the Redskins will be tight against the '04 spending limit, and perhaps handcuffed in free agency by Bailey's situation.

Snyder could create more cap room by re-doing tackle Chris Samuels' contract and reducing his glitzy cap value of nearly $9 million. However, Jimmy Sexton, Samuels' agent and also agent for disgruntled quarterback Patrick Ramsey, likely wouldn't oblige.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.