Today, for the first time in almost a week, Dan Snyder dusted off the checkbook and signed a player. It was the Redskins’ second signing of the free agency period and, like the first one, backup quarterback Todd Collins, the player wore the burgundy and gold last season.
In fact, Rock Cartwright has been a Redskin for his entire six-year career. He was the last player the team selected in the 2002 draft (7th round). At 5-foot-7, he had to fight to get noticed and establish a niche on the team.
His carries from scrimmage are few and far between, as he has 146 in his career and just seven in the past two seasons combined.
But he’s found a place on special teams, playing on most of them and getting his hands on the ball regularly as the kickoff returner. Usually fielding the ball and going straight ahead, trying to find a seam, Cartwright averaged 25.8 yards per return, ninth-best in the NFL.
According to Vinny Cerrato, the contract is for three years, about $3 million with a $300,000 signing bonus.
It had been reported that Cartwright was seeking $2 million in guaranteed money in a new deal. While the exact amount in guarantees beyond the $300,000 is not known, but it’s certainly far less than $2 million.
In keeping Cartwright, the team takes one more step towards maintaining some semblance of continuity. That seemed to be impossible in mid-January after it was announced that Gregg Williams would not replace Joe Gibbs as head coach and that Al Saunders would be gone as well.
And, certainly, it’s not exactly going to be business as usual in Ashburn this year as neophyte Jim Zorn replaces Hall of Fame member Gibbs as head coach and the well-regarded Saunders as kingpin of the offense.
Every NFL team, though, undergoes some transformation from January to September.
The retention of reserves Collins and Cartwright to go along with the 22 starters who are under contract for 2008 means Washington’s tight locker room will remain largely unchanged.