Redskin visits Denver; talks in progress

Updated: February 26, 2004, 5:10 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- The agent for Washington Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey says he has had "substantive discussions" on a new contract that would bring Bailey to the Denver Broncos and is awaiting a written proposal from the team.

The proposed trade would send Bailey and Washington's second-round draft choice to the Broncos in exchange for running back Clinton Portis.

Bailey visited Denver on Wednesday along with his wife, Hanady, and agent Jack Reale.

"We had some substantive discussions," Reale said. "The devil is in the details on these kinds of things. This deal, especially, would require addressing a lot of technical issues because of the rules of the salary cap. Both sides are working to be as creative as possible.

"We're quite far along, but I hesitate to say how far until I actually see something in writing from the Broncos. But our discussions have progressed considerably, and I think we are all on the same page."

The Broncos have declined to comment on the negotiations.

Bailey, a four-time Pro Bowler, was welcomed by Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, position coach David Gibbs, team captain Rod Smith and tackle George Foster, a former teammate at Georgia.

The deal would amount to a swap of Pro Bowl players who are unhappy with their contract situations.

The Redskins offered Bailey a nine-year, $55 million deal before last season, but he rejected it because it was back-loaded. Last week, the Redskins placed a franchise tag on Bailey to prevent him from hitting the open market next week.

Portis has two years remaining on the contract he signed as a second-round draft pick in 2002. Displeased with the $300,000 he made last season, he has hinted he might be a holdout when training camp starts unless the Broncos rework his deal.

Because Portis is still under contract, Redskins director of player personnel Vinny Cerrato said the team does not need to have a new contract in place with Portis before they complete the trade.

Bailey's contract with Denver remains the lone obstacle to the trade.

The Redskins have had trade talks with several NFL teams about Bailey, and Reale said Thursday that contract discussions "have progressed with another team as well." He would not identify that team.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press