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NFL ROUNDUP Redskins continue to raid New York Jets



Published: Fri, March 14, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Wide receiver Laveranues Coles has signed an offer sheet.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The New York Jets are going through what the Cincinnati Bengals just experienced, only with twice as many difficult decisions to make.

The Jets must decide whether to match Washington's offer sheets to restricted free agents Laveranues Coles and Chad Morton.

Cincinnati opted to let linebacker Takeo Spikes leave for Buffalo, which gave him a six-year, $32 million deal.

Now the Jets have the agonizing decisions. Coles received a seven-year, $35 million contract offer that includes a $13 million signing bonus. He comes off a breakthrough season in which he caught 89 passes and teamed with new starting quarterback Chad Pennington to form one of the NFL's most dangerous passing combinations.

But before their week is up to decide on Coles, the Jets have only until Thursday to match the five-year, $8 million offer to star kick returner Morton.

In allowing another team to determine the market value for their players, the Jets might have cost themselves one or two important contributors to a playoff club.

"We were thinking a team or teams drafting after us, maybe Philadelphia or Atlanta, would do this, " Bradway said. "Maybe a team with the 30th pick or something. This wasn't something we really expected, a team with the 13th [pick]."

First-round pick

If the Jets let Coles leave, they would get the Redskins' first-round pick, 13th overall, as compensation.

Coles was disappointed in the Jets' initial contract offer. So he could become the third or fourth Jet to join Washington this month.

Previously, the Redskins signed Jets guard Randy Thomas and kicker John Hall, both unrestricted free agents. Now they have the offer sheets to Coles and Morton.

Washington also signed unrestricted free agent wideout Patrick Johnson on Monday. Johnson, late of Jacksonville, signed a one-year deal.

The Bengals also signed cornerback Tory James, who started for Oakland in the Super Bowl with a rod stabilizing a broken leg. He was released by the Raiders in a salary cap move.

Green Bay released outside linebacker Nate Wayne, a three-year starter who was due a $750,000 roster bonus. Wayne led the defense with 132 tackles last season and produced at least 100 tackles in his three seasons with the Packers and totaled 10 sacks and six interceptions.

The Panthers released defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, ending a disappointing stint in Carolina for the 10-year veteran. Gilbert started 56 games in five seasons with the Panthers. His last two years were shortened by injury.

Bucs sign center

Tampa Bay continued to revamp its offensive line by signing center John Wade, who played five years for Jacksonville. He started all 16 games for the Jaguars last season and has started 34 of the 54 NFL games he has played.

Wade replaced three-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Christy, who was released last month.

Tight end Dan Campbell signed a three-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday. The 6-foot-5, 263-pound Campbell spent the last four seasons with the New York Giants.




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