Rypien joins $1 million club, ends holdout

July 25, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Quarterback Mark Rypien became the fourth player in the history of the Washington Redskins to earn $1 million or more in base salary when he came to terms on a new deal yesterday and ended his holdout.

The Redskins announced last night shortly before the scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers that they agreed on a contract with Rypien and that he was en route to training camp from his home in Spokane, Wash.

The contract includes a confidentiality clause, but it was believed to be a one-year deal with about $1.4 million when incentive bonuses are included.

Coach Joe Gibbs said that Rypien would return as the No. 1 quarterback and that he plans to use him in the team's scrimmage Saturday against the New York Jets at Lehigh University.

"I think it's good to have all of our guys in camp. I think it'll be good that we can concentrate now and stay strictly with football. We have a long way to go from the looks of things tonight," Gibbs said after the scrimmage against the Steelers ended in a 19-19 tie.

Although owner Jack Kent Cooke said Monday that Rypien was a "bloody idiot" if he didn't arrive soon, general manager Charley Casserly said: "I never felt it got personal. I thought it was professionally handled all the way."

Casserly seemed pleased to get all of his players in camp.

"I feel good about this, because now we can focus on what's happening on the field. I'm glad it's over with, and I'm glad we got it done and got it done the right way," he said.

Rypien missed only six working days of camp.

"That's still a lot. We come to camp late. We'll have to see what he looks like," Gibbs said.

Rypien earned $275,000 in base salary last year, one of the lowest among NFL starting quarterbacks.

The Redskins had made it clear during the talks that they wouldn't go above $1.2 million base salary that Jay Schroeder of the Los Angeles Raiders and Jeff Hostetler of the New York Giants recently received. But they were apparently willing to use incentive clauses to boost it to $1.4 million.

During mini-camp, Rypien said the average quarterback salary in the NFL was $1.4 million, and he wanted the average salary.

But his agent, Ken Staninger, argued that $1.4 million was last year's average. He said that new deals with other quarterbacks raised the average to $1.67 million and he wanted a package in that range.

It's unlikely the Redskins raised their offer at the end because Casserly said: "Our players know we do our negotiating before camp starts, not after it begins."

The Redskins proved how tough they could be at the negotiating table in 1980 when they let John Riggins sit out the whole season.

Rypien also would have given Stan Humphries a chance to beat him out for the starting job if he'd stayed out much longer.

By Redskins' standards, Rypien got a good contract. Only three players -- Doug Williams, Wilber Marshall and Art Monk -- have ever earned $1 million or more in base salary.

Running back Gerald Riggs will reach that plateau in 1993 if he lasts that long. Cornerback Darrell Green, who'll make $825,000 this year, is certain to surpass the $1 million mark when his contract expires at the end of this season.

Now that Rypien must win the fans back. In a poll in Washingtonian magazine, he was voted the player the fans would most like to see traded. They've been unhappy that he's won only one playoff game.

But Staninger said Rypien can handle all that.

"He's been through enough negative things so I don't know that any more can bother him. Being the quarterback of the Washington Redskins is a tough job. If he didn't know it before, he sure knows it know," Staninger said.

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