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Finding Trade Market Bare, Redskins Choose To Release Jabar Gaffney

By ZAC BOYER | | @ZacBoyer

After making multiple attempts to trade Jabar Gaffney over the last two weeks, the Washington Redskins finally gave up on Monday and released the receiver, proceeding with their commitment to developing young players at the position.

Gaffney, 31, had 68 catches for 945 yards and five touchdowns a year ago, all of which were team-highs. But the team signed Pierre Garcon not long after free agency opened on March 13 and then also later brought in Washington native Joshua Morgan, and with Leonard Hankerson, a third-round draft pick from a year ago, expected to be fully recovered from hip surgery, the Redskins prefer to build chemistry amongst the trio and new quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Head coach Mike Shanahan explained last week that Gaffney didn’t fit into the team’s plans, and as a 10-year veteran who had the most productive season of his career in 2011, Shanahan felt it was best to help the receiver find another team.

“I mean, he’s a veteran player,” Shanahan said. “He gave me everything he had last year and had a heck of a year, but he also understands that we’ve got three guys that we signed, relative to Hankerson, Morgan and Pierre Garcon, that we’re looking to come in here and obviously play a significant role.”

Signs that the Redskins wouldn’t have a trade partner for Gaffney came over the weekend when the NFL Draft came and went without the receiver being moved. Philadelphia, for example, unloaded cornerback Asante Samuel, who it signed to a six-year, nearly $60 million deal in 2008, to Atlanta merely in exchange for a seventh-round pick.

While Shanahan said Gaffney would be able to stay with the team if he so chose, the team instead released him. It was, then, a move more tied to clearing salary cap space than anything; Gaffney was scheduled to make $2.65 million in the final season of a four-year deal he signed with Denver in 2009 before being traded to Washington when the lockout ended last July.