The Washington Redskins Hold All the Aces on Jason Campbell

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The Washington Redskins Hold All the Aces on Jason Campbell
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

One of the perverse pleasures of the season is watching Daniel Snyder squirm. His decision about the Washington Redskins' next quarterback will be his third-most important of the offseason, after his decision for the 2010 GM and head coach.

Almost everything tilts in Snyder's favor when it comes to Jason Campbell.

With the season five weeks from a merciful end, Daniel Snyder expects to sweep out the old and bring in the new, we think.

Snyder has a well-known adolescent penchant of reaching for the next shiny bauble while discarding gems in the drawer. In 2000, he let free agent quarterback Brad Johnson walk away and reached for Jeff George, unwanted by everyone but Snyder.

Odds are that Jason Campbell's a goner by the 2010 draft. That may suit him just fine. Campbell can do a lot better than "Snyderrato." The Redskins can do worse than Campbell.

Campbell has taken the Redskin offense upon his shoulders over the past three games. Heck, Campbell was the offense in the Philadelphia Eagles game last Sunday.

Yet despite a touchdown run and two touchdown passes, the casual Sunday fan, which may include Snyder, lays the Eagles loss at Campbell's feet instead of the defense and special teams that gave up two fourth-quarter scoring drives and a two-point conversion to allow Philly's come-from-behind win.

Would Jay Cutler or Mark Sanchez have done better?

Campbell ranks higher than those gentlemen in quarterback rating (18th with 84.6), completions (10th with 65.2 percent), and the critical yards per pass attempt (15th with 7.19).

Campbell is playing himself to roster relevance. Odds are that Snyder could get a second-round pick for Campbell this offseason...if 2010 is an uncapped year.

Washington is believed to have offered its first-round 2009 draft pick in futile efforts to land Cutler and Sanchez. Campbell had no trade value that could have sweetened Washington's offer for Cutler. That must have been a shock to Snyder.

(The failed effort saved Snyder from himself. The wrath he would have endured for giving up two first-day draft picks for Cutler after signing Albert Haynesworth to a gold-plated contract only to be 3-8 at this point of the season...)

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) anticipated its own termination and set the rules for an orderly transition. How smart was that, to protect the league from predatory owners?

Here's what makes Snyder squirm: If the owners and Players Association reach an agreement to extend the CBA, the NFL sets a new salary cap and Campbell is an unrestricted free agent. He's free to go and the Redskins get nothing but a fare-thee-well as Campbell runs out the door.

To keep Campbell, Washington has to tag him as a franchise player and sign him to a one-year contract worth $7-10 million, or sign him to a new deal with around $50 million guaranteed.

If the owners and players do not reach agreement, then there is no salary cap in 2010, but a lot of new rules that restrict player movement during a transition year. 

Sniffing out the salary cap is the one thing Daniel Syder genuinely does well. Not signing Campbell to a new deal, along with lucrative contracts for DeAngelo Hall and Albert Haynesworth, is evidence Snyder expects the salary cap to fade away.

No salary cap after 2010 lets the Redskins terminate deals for Haynesworth without suffering a cap hit.

In Campbell's case, an uncapped year means the Skins can sign him to a "right-of-first-refusal" offer for a bargain $1 million. Then Snyder can sit back and see how the market prices Campbell and decide whether or not to match.

Another club would have to offer Campbell at least 110 percent of his current salary. $4 million or so for a middle-of-the-pack starter is a bargain.

But that club would have to pony up a first and third-round draft pick to Washington, according to data provided by J.I. Halsell of www.FootballOutsiders.com and former Washington Redskins salary cap analyst.

That's too high a price to pay for Campbell, even with a bargain-basement salary. 

The other team could bypass all that and offer a straight-up trade for Campbell. That's worked for Snyder before.

In 2004, Champ Bailey made it very clear that he did not like the direction Snyder was taking the Redskins and he wanted out.

Snyder recovered by trading Bailey to Denver for Clinton Portis

Campbell does not have that leverage.

Labor turmoil means Snyder gets a motivated Jason Campbell, who is creating trade value where none existed last spring.

The extra picks are just what Snyder needs to rebuild the team, or the 'Skins and whoever is coaching them in 2010 could get another year from an improving quarterback at a steal of a salary.

The only thing that screws Snyder's dream scenario is labor peace and a new salary cap.

So, I wonder how he will vote when the owners meet?    

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