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Redskins’ Cap Adjustment Complicated Negotiations With Pierre Garcon

By ZAC BOYER | | @ZacBoyer

While the Washington Redskins made Pierre Garcon the first player to switch teams when free agency opened on Tuesday, the negotiations between the team and the wide receiver weren’t that simple.


According to a close source to Garcon with knowledge of the negotiations, the Redskins were the first team to show interest in the receiver, calling him within minutes of the 4 p.m. opening of free agency. But because of the Redskins’ situation with the salary cap – the team was docked $36 million on Monday because it circumvented contract recommendations in 2010, half of which had to be applied this season – it took until around 10 a.m. on Wednesday for the actual negotiations to be finalized.

The team went from an estimated $35 million under the $120.6 million salary cap to approximately $17 million when the league year began.

Garcon had four other competing offers, including a previously reported proposal from San Diego, but was willing to see how the Redskins could structure a contract before turning elsewhere. That didn’t happen; Garcon was able to reach an agreement on a five-year, $42.5 million contract that included $20.5 million in guaranteed money and $11 million signing bonus.

“They were very respectful of everything,” that person said. “They handled it with a lot of class.”

Garcon, 25, spent his first four years with Indianapolis and was coming off a season in which he had 70 catches for 947 yards and a team-high six touchdowns.

The receiver had a list of approximately a half-dozen teams he was interested in negotiating with – one that initially included the Redskins. What wasn’t a huge selling point, though, was the team’s recent trade for the No. 2 pick in April’s NFL Draft – and a rookie franchise quarterback.

“It did play into his decision,” that person said. “I can’t say it didn’t. Both of those guys are going to be great quarterbacks. But if that was the sole reason why he went to Washington – well, why wouldn’t he just stay in Indy?”

The Colts, after a 2-14 year, have the No. 1 pick in that draft and are expected to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, leaving the Redskins to take Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

What did factor into Garcon’s decision were the opportunity to be a No. 1 receiver in an offensive scheme he liked, plus the ease of getting to and from his South Florida home.

“The truth of the matter is that he saw it was the best fit for what he wanted to accomplish,” the person said.