With the final cut-down date four days away, the Washington Redskins may be involved in trade talks on two fronts this weekend.
The Redskins had a preliminary conversation yesterday about quarterback Stan Humphries with the Phoenix Cardinals, who are desperate for quarterback help after losing starter Timm Rosenbach for at least six weeks with a knee injury Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, the Redskins hope to talk with the Houston Oilers this weekend about defensive end Sean Jones, who may be expendable now that that Oilers have obtained Lee Williams from the San Diego Chargers. The Redskins would like to trade for Jones because they're thin at defensive end and overloaded at defensive tackle.
They could be willing to trade Humphries for the right price because he appears to have fallen out of favor with coach Joe Gibbs, who has praised second-year quarterback Cary Conklin.
General manager Charley Casserly declined to comment on reports out of Phoenix that he talked with Cardinals general manager Larry Wilson about Humphries yesterday.
Rosenbach's loss leaves the Cardinals with only two inexperienced quarterbacks, Tom Tupa and Craig Kupp, on their roster.
Humphries had his best game of the season last year against the Cardinals, completing 20 of 25 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns.
He also could adapt quickly to the Cardinals' system because former longtime Redskins assistant coach Joe Bugel is the Cardinals' head coach and runs an offense similar to the one the Redskins operate.
But the Redskins probably would want a high price from the Cardinals because they're in the same division. The Cardinals likely would argue that Humphries isn't a backup. Coach Joe Gibbs has declined to say whether Humphries or Conklin is the team's backup despite Conklin's 5-for-16 performance against the Cleveland Browns last week.
That's an indication that Gibbs still is annoyed at Humphries' performance last year when Mark Rypien was injured. Humphries lost twice to the New York Giants and was yanked in the second half of a game against the Detroit Lions.
Gibbs said he won't name his backup quarterback until after tomorrow night's final exhibition game against the New York Jets, and Humphries has declined to comment.
Humphries' agent, Kevin Scanlon, said Humphries hasn't asked for a trade. "He loves it there. He wants to play through this thing," Scanlon said.
Casserly did confirm that he called the Oilers yesterday to inquire about Jones, who's holding out, but the Oilers didn't return the call.
Casserly, though, said the Redskins aren't desperate for a defensive end even though Fred Stokes is ailing with a sore shoulder and their only two healthy ends are Charles Mann and Markus Koch. Casserly said they could get by with tackles filling in at end.
Gibbs said yesterday that Stokes is planning to see a shoulder specialist at the University of Virginia.
The Redskins talked to the Oilers earlier this month about Jones, but the talks broke off when the Williams deal with San Diego didn't materialize. Now that the Oilers have made the Williams deal, Casserly wants to find out if the Oilers want to trade Jones.
The indications earlier this month were that the Oilers wanted one of their starting tackles, Tim Johnson or Eric Williams, for Jones while the Redskins were offering one of their backups, Tracy Rocker or Darryl Grant, and a draft choice.
The Redskins also offered linebacker Wilber Marshall, but the Oilers rejected him because of his $1.2 million salary and their feeling that he's on the decline.
Meanwhile, the Redskins also are thinking about the final roster cuts they must make Monday, and one of their toughest decisions will be in the offensive line.
Last year, they kept 10 linemen -- Jim Lachey, Raleigh McKenzie, Jeff Bostic, Mark Schlereth, Ed Simmons, Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm, Mo Elewonibi, Ray Brown and Mark Adickes.
Since the Redskins have more depth this year at other positions, it'll be more difficult for them to keep all 10 again, and either Brown and Adickes could be the odd man out.
"In all honesty, I started worrying last week," Adickes said. "I have no idea if they're keeping 10 guys or what they're going to do."
NOTES: Tight end James Jenkins, the only rookie free agent still on the team, suffered a painful toe injury yesterday, and his status is uncertain for tomorrow night's game. . . . The Redskins will have their "Welcome Home Luncheon" today. It was at this luncheon 3 years ago that owner Jack Kent Cooke announced he planned to build a new stadium, but he still hasn't completed the deal yet with city and federal officials.