Derrick Dockery, who days ago felt secure entering the third year of a seven-year, $49 million contract with the Bills, underwent the strangest 24 hours of his pro football career, but, in his eyes, his journey had a happy ending.
A day after being told he was being released by the Bills, Dockery agreed to a five-year, $26.5 million with the Redskins, perhaps the last place he thought he'd land. Dockery left the Redskins two years ago to accept a deal that tied him at the time for being the highest paid lineman in football. Even though he loved being a Redskin, the economics of the move were too rewarding.
An off season by the line in 2008 and a big salary made Dockery a salary cap casualty Thursday. But strange things happened. The Bills didn't place Dockery on the waiver wire, and there had been interest by the Detroit Lions in acquiring him in a trade.
Dockery flew to Detroit Friday for a visit and a physical. The Bills didn't get the paperwork in on a trade, so he was officially released Friday. That's when things heated up.
The Redskins called and tried to bring him back. The Lions offered him a richer contract to stay, but Dockery decided he couldn't pass up the chance to return to the Redskins.
The other strange part of the experience is that Dockery didn't lose much money by being released by the Bills, In fact, he had some financial gains. The Bills paid him $18.5 million during his first two years in Buffalo. Those first two years very pretty much guaranteed. The Redskins ended up guaranteeing $8 million of his new contract, something he wasn't expected to have in the remaining five years of his Bills deal.
Dockery couldn't be happier. He's back with the Redskins and he has more job security.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.