While waiting for the New Orleans Saints to make a decision on linebacker Wayne Martin, the Washington Redskins made one of their own, signing free-agent linebacker Rick Graf of the Houston Oilers yesterday.
The Redskins also took a look at defensive lineman Al Noga of the Minnesota Vikings. Washington plans to make offers to both Noga and running back Marcus Allen of the Los Angeles Raiders, who visited Redskin Park last week.
Graf, a seven-year veteran who started five games last year, joined the Oilers as a Plan B player two years ago.
"He gives us an experienced linebacker," general manager Charley Casserly said.
Graf's signing came on the same day the Redskins learned that Tyronne Stowe, another linebacker they looked at, decided to stay with the Phoenix Cardinals for a three-year deal worth $2.7 million.
Graf, who got a one-year contract for $750,000 plus a $100,000 playing-time incentive after earning $425,000 last year, figures to be a backup, but could play a lot in training camp if Wilber Marshall, who has asked to be traded, holds out. The Redskins have given Marshall permission to try to make his own deal with another team, but he's not finding any takers for his $3 million asking price.
The Redskins also looked at quarterback Chris Cochrane, who is a true free agent. He was cut by the Vikings last year and didn't play. He's a candidate to be a fourth quarterback for training camp drills.
Meanwhile, NFL career receiving leader Art Monk, 35, reportedly will return for a 14th season with the team, although not as a starter.
The Redskins also told Monk's agents, Richard Bennett and Brig Owens, that Monk would be offered his 1992 salary of $1.2 million, The Washington Post reported.
In 13 seasons, Monk has 847 receptions and 63 touchdowns in 189 games.