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LB Arrington buys his freedom


Published: Tue, March 7, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


Washington gets a break from its salary cap woes.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- LaVar Arrington was so disenchanted with the Washington Redskins that he gave up money rather than stay with the team.
The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker and the Redskins parted ways late Sunday night in a deal that allowed Arrington to become a free agent while giving the team a needed break in its effort to get under the salary cap.
"It's going to be best for the Redskins. I hope it's going to be best for LaVar," coach Joe Gibbs said Monday. "I think it gives him a chance for a fresh start. ... I certainly wish the last two years had been smoother here."
An official with knowledge of the transaction, speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said Arrington agreed to a buyout that relinquished more than $4 million rather than restructure his contract in a way that would allow him to remain in Washington.
Two choices
"It really came down to two scenarios," Gibbs said. "One of them would be that LaVar would be here next year and there would be guaranteed moneys for next year, and he would play here next year.
"The second scenario is one where if he could help us with the cap, we could make him a free agent. LaVar last night made the decision that he would like the latter."
Gibbs said the Redskins have reached provisional agreements with "11 or 12" veterans over the past week to restructure their contracts so the team could get under the NFL's salary cap. The team will need to slash some $20 million of cap money if there is no new collective bargaining agreement before the start of free agency.
The free agent market was originally scheduled to open last Friday, but it has been postponed twice while negotiations continue between the NFL and the players' union. It's now scheduled to start Thursday at 12:01 a.m.
Only one to refuse
The official told the AP that Arrington was the only Redskins player who refused to rework his deal. Arrington was disgruntled over playing time last season and wanted a chance to pursue free agency.
Yet the Redskins couldn't cut Arrington outright because it would have cost the team under the league's complex salary cap rules. He was due to count some $12 million against the cap in 2006, including a $6.5 million roster bonus.


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