NFL News of March 18, 2003

Despite the Jets’ complaint to the N.F.L. that the Washington Redskins’ offer to Laveranues Coles was illegal, a Redskins official insisted yesterday that the team had acted properly and sounded serene about Washington’s chances for landing Coles.

The Jets have until tomorrow to match the Redskins’ offer sheet, which includes a $13 million signing bonus. Coles is a free agent and was the Jets’ top receiver last season.

The Jets contended to league officials last week that the Redskins had circumvented the rules by not immediately reporting the offer after Coles agreed to it. This would have given [the Jets] time to free up cap money while tying up Coles.

”We’ve done nothing improper,” the Redskins’ senior vice president, Karl Swanson, said yesterday.

Swanson said he did not know anything about the league’s handling of the complaint, or when it would respond.

”We haven’t asked,” he said, apparently confident that the offer was valid.

…The Jets have already lost right guard Randy Thomas and place-kicker John Hall to the Redskins through free agency; they were also forced to match the Redskins’ offer sheet to keep the game-breaking kick returner Chad Morton.

—  Gerald Eskenazi, The New York Times “Redskins Are Confident Offer To Coles Was Not Improper”

The Redskins succeeded in signing Coles, but wound up trading him back to the Jets after the 2004 season for Santana Moss. Coles played for the Jets for another four years before signing a four-year deal with the Bengals. The Bengals cut him after one season and Coles again returned to the Jets, only to be cut in the preseason of the 2010 season. He then signed with the Jets for a fourth and final time for their 2010 playoff run in what proved to be his last season in the league.

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