Aug. 3, 2001
By JOSEPH WHITE AP Sports Writer
Carlisle, PA (AP) – First-round draft pick Rod Gardner agreed to a five-year, $7.7 million contract with the Washington Redskins on Thursday.
The former Clemson receiver, the 15th-overall pick, was to arrive at training camp just before midnight Thursday to sign the deal and report to practice Friday, ending a four-day holdout.
“Rod wanted to get to camp,” said agent Joel Segal, who arrived in Carlisle early Thursday for the contract talks. “The Redskins wanted him there, and a signed contract was a win-win.”
A source close to the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the contract includes a $5.1 million signing bonus and up to $3 million in escalators and incentives that could make the total value about $10.7 million. The Redskins would have an option on the fifth year of the deal.
The basic structure of the contract had been in place for days, but the Redskins and Gardner haggled over the incentive package until Thursday’s face-to-face negotiations.
Gardner will challenge free agent acquisition Kevin Lockett for a starting job, but the rookie is more likely to begin his pro career as the third receiver in passing formations. Michael Westbrook is the other starter.
Like Westbrook, Gardner is big and physical – 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds – and showed the ability to make catches in heavy traffic in college. His best season at Clemson was his junior year, when he caught 80 passes for 1,084 yards. He had 58 catches for 1,050 yards in his senior year, when the offense was more run-orientated.
Gardner was the team’s last holdout. Second-round pick Fred Smoot signed his contract late Tuesday.
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