Shuler steps into pocket of Redskins NFL TRAINING CAMP REPORT

August 03, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Quarterback Heath Shuler may wind up sitting on a fat wallet on the Washington Redskins' bench when the season opens.

Shuler ended his 13-day holdout last night by getting a rookie-record eight-year, $19.25 million deal, but it cost him FFTC chance to start the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills on Monday night. It also may mean he'll have to open the regular season as John Friesz's backup.

New coach Norv Turner had wanted Shuler to start the season, but Shuler now will have only four days of training camp before the team leaves for Buffalo on Sunday to start a stretch of three preseason games in 11 days.

"We really have to go back to get him caught up on the things he's missed. He's got a lot of work to do and we've got a lot of work to do," Turner said.

Turner said it was still a "possibility" that Shuler could start the regular season, but added, "I think John Friesz is going to have something to say about that. We still have four preseason games. It's just a matter of how quickly Heath handles the things once we get going."

Shuler was the third player picked in the draft, but the first quarterback. The first two picks were defensive lineman Dan Wilkinson of the Cincinnati Bengals, who got a six-year, $14.407 million deal, and running back Marshall Faulk of the Indianapolis Colts, who signed a seven-year, $17.178 million contract.

Shuler and his agent, Tom Condon, arrived at 11:05 p.m. Condon said he would review the language of the deal orally agreed on with general manager Charley Casserly before Shuler signs it. Shuler then will participate in his first drill in pads today.

Although Rick Mirer played well for the Seattle Seahawks last year after missing 22 days in a holdout, he was the exception rather than the rule.

Mark Rypien was ineffective during the 1992 season coming off his Super Bowl MVP season when he held out to get a three-year, $9 million deal.

It turned out Rypien never earned the third year of that deal. He left when he refused to take a pay cut this spring and signed a $1.15 million deal in Cleveland.

Shuler also will be under a lot of pressure to live up to his big contract. He got a $5 million signing bonus and a $950,000 base salary this year and will average a record $2.85 million the first three years. Drew Bledsoe of the New England Patriots set the previous mark of a $2.78 million average the first three years.

If Shuler meets incentives, he can void the contract after three years, but the Redskins will have the option of buying back two more years at about $4 million a year before he becomes a restricted free agent in 1999.

It's up to Shuler to start making up for lost time today.

QB watch

Now that Shuler has a deal, Trent Dilfer, the sixth player picked in the first round, may not be far behind.

Dilfer's agent, Mike Sullivan, went to Tampa, Fla., last night for negotiations with the Buccaneers.

Dilfer wants a contract averaging $2.5 million over the first three years, which would be slightly under Shuler's $2.85 million average.

Deion to 49ers?

If the baseball players go out on strike this month, there's a chance Deion Sanders could wind up playing football for the San Francisco 49ers until it's settled.

Sanders said yesterday his agent has talked to the 49ers and added, "I want to play during the strike. The 49ers are a great team."

The Atlanta Falcons also are interested in having Sanders return, but he's unhappy that they released him rather than meet his salary demands earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the 49ers signed linebacker Rickey Jackson, who was released by the New Orleans Saints last week when he refused to take the team's $500,000 offer. The 49ers didn't announce terms of the deal but will have to release a player to make room for Jackson because they're only $84,000 under the cap.

The 49ers also signed running back Roger Craig, but it was only for symbolic reasons because he wanted to retire as a 49er. Craig left the team in 1991. The 49ers said they also hope to re-sign both quarterback Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott when their careers are over so they can retire as 49ers.

Holding out

Kicker Gary Anderson of the Pittsburgh Steelers, due to make $400,000 this year in the final year of his contract, is holding out in an attempt to get a $1 million-a-year deal. The Steelers are offering $812,500 and say they'll withdraw the offer if he doesn't report soon.

THE SHULER DEAL

Signing bonus $5,000,000

First-year base 950,000

Second-year base 1,187,500

Third-year base 1,425,000

Fourth-year base 1,662,500

Fifth-year base 1,900,000

Sixth-year base 2,137,500

Seventh-year base 2,375,000

Eighth-year base 2,612,500

Total value $19,250,000

Shuler can void contract after three years if he reaches incentives. The Redskins then have option of buying back fourth and fifth years and Shuler then would become restricted free agent in 1999 and can negotiate another deal.

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