Here's all you need to know about the approach of Washington owner Daniel Snyder and the lack of quality receivers available in free agency this year: the Redskins gave former Steeler Antwaan Randle El almost as many millions as he had catches for Pittsburgh last year.
Washington and Randle El's agent, Fletcher Smith of CSMG Sports, finalized a seven-year contract worth $31 million that includes $11.5 million in bonuses. The deal is voidable after the sixth year.
The Redskins, whose offense sputtered on its way to scoring just 27 points in two playoffs games, on Saturday added via trade San Francisco Brandon Lloyd to what is now a rather deep wide receiver depth chart that also includes Pro Bowler Santana Moss and David Patten, both of whom Washington acquired last year.
Randle El had a career-low 35 receptions for the Super Bowl champion Steelers in 2005 but in four seasons has established himself as one of the game's most versatile performers. While he is no doubt more famous for his 43-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XL than any of his 162 career catches or five return touchdowns, the Redskins signed him to be their No. 2 receiver, opposite Moss. Washington apparently plans to employ a lot of three-receiver looks next season, with former Rams and Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders calling the plays.
Randle El made a bit of a tough call Saturday, rejecting a six-year, $18 million (including $8 million to sign) to play for the Bears in his native Illinois.
Besides the bigger contract, what sold Randle El on the Redskins was the prospect of playing under a proven coordinator in Saunders, with a veteran quarterback in Mark Brunell, and the promise of a key role in Washington's retooled offense. Randle El, remember, played quarterback at Indiana, and he longs to handle the ball more than he did in Pittsburgh's run-oriented scheme.
Two years ago, Snyder went retro when he lured Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs out of retirement. Now Snyder has brought the Smurfs back. Randle El measures 5 feet 10 inches and 192 pounds. Moss is 5-10, 185; Patten 5-10, 190; and Lloyd 6 feet, 184.
The Redskins also signed tight end Christian Fauria on Sunday.
Fauria will replace tight end Robert Royal, who signed as a free
agent Saturday with Buffalo. Fauria spent the last four years with
New England, winning two Super Bowl rings. He started 10 of 16
games last year, catching eight passes for 57 yards and two
The Redskins were also in discussions with linebacker Andre
Carter, safety Adam Archuleta and quarterback Todd Collins. All
visited Redskins Park over the weekend.
Michael Smith is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.