Redskins deal Gardner to Carolina for future pick

After months of waiting for a deal, patience finally paid off for the Washington Redskins on Wednesday evening, as ESPN.com has confirmed the team has agreed to a trade sending wide receiver Rod Gardner to the Carolina Panthers for a draft choice.

Without the trade, Washington would have released Gardner, a former first-round choice (2001), but a player who no longer fit into coach Joe Gibbs' plans. The draft choice that the Redskins will receive, presumably in 2006, was not immediately known.

The deal is contingent upon Gardner passing a physical examination, and it is scheduled to be administered Thursday.

Washington had made its intentions with Gardner known early in the offseason, when it granted permission for agent Joel Segal to seek potential trade scenarios. The Redskins also excused Gardner from all their offseason workouts.

By dealing Gardner, the Redskins recoup his $2.097 million base salary, which was the highest on the team, and will use that savings to help sign its 2005 draft choices. It had been rumored for much of the offseason that Carolina, which was forced to release star wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad for cap considerations in February, was interested in adding Gardner.

A former Clemson star, Gardner, 27, started all 16 games in each of his four seasons in Washington, catching 227 passes for 2,997 yards and 22 touchdowns. His best season was in 2002, when he posted 71 receptions for 1,006 yards and eight touchdowns.

A big, physical receiver, and a prototype No. 2 wideout, Gardner has experienced some problems with inconsistency in the past, but was still regarded by several franchises as a quality player. Gardner became expendable in Washington when the Redskins traded for wide receiver Santana Moss and signed unrestricted free agents David Patten, Kevin Dyson and Jimmy Farris.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.