Redskins ship WR Jacobs to Niners for CB Rumph

Updated: August 14, 2006, 11:22 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ASHBURN, Va. -- The San Francisco 49ers traded cornerback Mike Rumph to the Washington Redskins for receiver Taylor Jacobs on Monday in a swap of oft-injured former high-round draft picks.

 Mike Rumph
Rumph

 Taylor Jacobs
Jacobs

Rumph was a first-round selection from the University of Miami in 2002, but never earned a solid spot in the 49ers' defensive secondary. He missed most of 2004 with a broken arm and played in only three games in 2005 because of a foot injury.

Moved to safety last year, Rumph then went back to cornerback shortly before going on injured reserve with his foot problem. He was sharing playing time with rookie Marcus Hudson during training camp, and the 49ers apparently decided their secondary is deep enough to part with the fifth-year pro.

Rumph was having difficulty fitting into coach Mike Nolan's defense. He moved back to corner this offseason, but was behind Walt Harris and Shawntae Spencer on San Francisco's depth chart. Rumph had a tough game in the preseason opener against the Bears. Playing cornerback, he was involved in several missed tackles and there was some question as to whether or not he would make the team, ESPN.com's John Clayton reported.

But Nolan said the Redskins initiated the trade discussions.

"I'm not going to say we're at championship level right now, but we've got a lot of competition going on at [cornerback]," Nolan said. "We do need to strengthen ourselves at wide receiver, so I thought it was an opportunity for us to take advantage of that."

Rumph is the third key member of last season's defensive secondary to be dropped by San Francisco this season. The Niners cut cornerback Bruce Thornton and safety Ben Emanuel -- both regular starters in 2005 -- earlier in training camp.

Rumph has a chance to do some specialty coverage work in the Redskins' system. His strong suit is man-to-man, something that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams might be able to use.

Jacobs has been a disappointment since the Redskins drafted him in the second round of the 2003 draft.

He slid down the Redskins' depth chart over the past couple of years since Joe Gibbs replaced Steve Spurrier as head coach. Washington drafted Jacobs on Spurrier's suggestion because he believed he fit his offense. But over the past two seasons the Redskins have revamped their receiving core and now use Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd as their top three receivers. James Thrash, a Redskins veteran, was also ahead of Jacobs on the Redskins' depth chart.

Jacobs had a bruised pancreas during his rookie season, a strained abdominal muscle in 2004 and a sprained big left toe last year. He has been ineffective when he did play, catching only 30 passes for 315 yards in 38 games.

"I wished it had worked out better for him here," coach Joe Gibbs said. "It didn't."

Jacobs has a groin injury and was a long shot to make the Redskins' roster. He'll also face plenty of competition in San Francisco, where Nolan expects him to start camp Tuesday as Antonio Bryant's backup.

"He's a good football player," Nolan said. "I'm kind of anxious to see how he fits into the group that we have. I don't think that he's a speed guy as [Bryan] Gilmore is for us. I don't think he's as competitive possibly as Antonio is. I think he's somewhere in between on both, so he can still be a very good wide receiver."

The acquisition of Jacobs fits the 49ers' profile as they try to upgrade athletically at the wide receiver position. They are trying to surround second-year quarterback Alex Smith with more playmakers.

The 49ers had considered several veterans to beef up their receiving corps, including disgruntled Denver wideout Ashley Lelie and former Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell. Nolan said trade discussions with the Broncos are dead.

The trade is the second between Washington and San Francisco this year. The Redskins sent two draft picks to the 49ers in March for Lloyd.

Rumph becomes the sixth University of Miami player at Redskins camp, joining running back Clinton Portis, safety Sean Taylor, Moss, linebacker Rocky McIntosh and tight end Buck Ortega.

The Redskins plan to use Rumph as a backup cornerback. Shawn Springs saw a specialist Monday for a sore hip, and nickel back Kenny Wright allowed two big plays and committed a pass interference penalty in Sunday night's 19-3 exhibition loss at Cincinnati.

John Clayton, a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com, contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was also used.

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