Redskins close to agreement with top pick Wilson

July 15, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Bobby Wilson, the Washington Redskins' first draft pick, will miss the first practice of training camp today, but he's not expected to miss many more.

Robert Huebner, the agent for the former defensive lineman from Michigan State, said last night that he is close to reaching an agreement with the NFL team.

Huebner said he has "some details to work out" and hopes to complete the deal today. He appears to have the deal virtually set.

Wilson and veteran quarterback Mark Rypien were the only two holdouts when the Redskins opened camp yesterday. Ricky Ervins, a third-round pick, and the other seven draft picks signed contracts yesterday.

Rypien's agent, Ken Staninger, said Friday that his client wouldn't be in camp this weekend and is not expected before Sunday, when all the veterans are due to report.

General manager Charley Casserly said he doesn't plan to talk to Staninger again until today. By contrast, Casserly was in frequent contact with Huebner yesterday.

Although Casserly declined to characterize the negotiations, all signs were that the Redskins expect Wilson to arrive soon.

They signed three free agents yesterday to bring the number of signed players in camp to 79, one shy of the maximum of 80.

When coach Joe Gibbs was asked why they didn't sign an 80th player, he said: "We were kind of waiting on some things. We thought Wilson might sign."

The sides appear to have been close for several days, but it was difficult to establish the market because no player between Alvin Harper, chosen 11th by the Dallas Cowboys, and Stan Thomas, chosen 22nd by the Chicago Bears, has come to terms.

Wilson was the 16th player selected, although the Redskins were in the 17th slot because the New York Jets had given up their first-round pick to select wide receiver Rob Moore in last year's supplemental draft.

As usual, first-round signings are slow. Eric Turner of the Cleveland Browns and Todd Marinovich of the Los Angeles Raiders signed yesterday, becoming the sixth and seventh first-rounders to do so.

It's likely Wilson will get a contract for about $700,000. Last year, the 15th pick, the Houston Oilers' Lamar Lathan, got $635,000 a year, but the 16th choice, James Williams of the Buffalo Bills, got $702,000 a year, Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, the 17th pick, got $725,000 a year, and the next two picks, Tony Bennett and Darrell Thompson, came in at an average of $608,000.

Contract figures usually rise at least 10 percent a year.

Huebner said he didn't feel pressure to set the market because no other player had signed around his slot.

The three free agents the Redskins signed yesterday to fill out their roster were defensive linemen Nate Hill and Lee Johnson and linebacker Demetrius Douglas. Johnson and Hill played in the World League of American Football.

Casserly said the Redskins have come to terms with two more veterans, tight end Ken Whisenhunt and wide receiver Stephen Hobbs.

Technically, that leaves Rypien and five other veterans unsigned. Except for Rypien, the Redskins aren't interested in signing the other veterans until next week because they'd have to cut players to make room for them once they sign.

The only veterans besides Rypien who haven't agreed to terms are offensive lineman Joe Jacoby, cornerback Martin Mayhew and defensive lineman Eric Williams.

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