ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins signed former
Chicago Bears defensive lineman Phillip Daniels on Tuesday, giving
the team three significant potential player acquisitions even
before the start of free agency.
Daniels and his wife, accompanied by linebackers coach Dale
Lindsey, were flown to Washington in owner Dan Snyder's jet from
Tallahasse, Fla., near Daniels' Georgia home. Daniels passed his
physical and arrived at Redskins Park late in the afternoon to sign
"That's what I want to be on, a team that wants to win,"
Daniels said. "Not a team that wants to save money."
Daniels, who will turn 31 on Thursday, joins Jacksonville
quarterback Mark Brunell and probably Denver running back Clinton
Portis as new Redskins in an earlier-than-usual start to Snyder's
offseason splash of signings.
A trade for Brunell was worked out two weeks ago and was
formally announced by the Jaguars on Tuesday. The trade for Portis
neared completion Tuesday, pending a contract agreement between the
Broncos and Washington cornerback Champ Bailey.
Brunell will arrive Wednesday, with Portis set to follow with
his own news conference on Thursday.
Although free agency officially doesn't begin until Wednesday,
the Redskins were able to sign Daniels because he was cut by the
Bears on Monday. Chicago's move was long-expected, and the Bears
had given the Redskins permission to negotiate with Daniels before
Daniels has played four seasons each with Seattle and Chicago,
with 44½ sacks and 370 tackles playing both end and tackle over an
eight-year career. He had 2½ sacks -- his fewest since his rookie
season in Seattle -- and 41 tackles while starting all 16 games last
season for the Bears. His projected $3 million salary for 2004 made
him an ideal salary-cap casualty as new Chicago coach Lovie Smith
attempts to rebuild the team.
Daniels will be reunited with new Redskins defensive coordinator
Greg Blache, who held the same job during Daniels' four years with
Brunell, Portis and Daniels are just the beginning for the
Redskins. Washington acquired nine players in the first four days
of free agency last season, and they just may find a way to top
that this time around as they look to fill several holes from last
year's 5-11 season.
Defensive linemen Jevon Kearse, Cornelius Griffin and Robaire
Smith, cornerbacks Shawn Springs and Troy Vincent, tight end Walter
Rasby and punter Chris Gardocki are among the players the Redskins
are set to pursue when the market opens Wednesday morning.
"We're going to have the plane going non-stop," coach Joe Gibbs
Daniels is the first step in a needed overhaul of the defensive
line. The defense ranked 24th against the run, and the top
pass-rushing threat last season was 40-year-old Bruce Smith, who
has since been released. Defensive end Renaldo Wynn could be the
only starter who retains his job next season.
The Redskins plan to send four-time, Pro Bowl cornerback Bailey
and a second-round draft pick to the Broncos for Portis, who agreed
to an eight-year, $50.5 million contract with Washington on Monday.
The final step is for Denver to work out a contract with Bailey,
and his agent said that deal could be "wrapped up quickly" after
resolving a few details.
A third-round pick is the price for Brunell, who agreed to a
seven-year, $43 million contract with the Redskins last month. The
flurry of activity, added to deals made in previous years, has left
Washington with just two selections -- in the first and fifth rounds
-- in this year's draft.