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Cerrato: CBA Deal Is Key to Offseason

Vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said on Thursday that the Redskins' off-season plans are dependant on whether the NFL can work out an extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association.

Cerrato, speaking on the John Thompson Show on SportsTalk 980 radio, said that if the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is extended, the Redskins would be able to address some needs in free agency.

The free agency signing period is scheduled to begin on March 3.

"If there is a Collective Bargaining Agreement, we can answer a lot of our questions in free agency," Cerrato said. "If there's not a Collective Bargaining Agreement, which we should know hopefully in the next few days, then we'll be doing most of our [player acquisitions] in the draft."

The NFL and the players' union have been negotiating on an extension of the CBA for several months, but with little progress, according to The current CBA is set to expire after the 2007 season, but if there is no extension, the cap on player salaries would end after the 2006 season. That means the 2007 season would be played without a salary cap.

Cerrato, who is in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine, said the Redskins are in a similar situation with about 15-20 other teams waiting to see how the CBA negotiations play out before implementing free agency plans.

Like most teams, the Redskins entered the offseason with two plans in place: one offseason strategy if the CBA is extended, an entirely different strategy if the CBA is not extended.

Meantime, Cerrato identified some positions that the Redskins will look to upgrade in the coming months, be it in free agency or the NFL Draft, scheduled for April 29-30. The Redskins' first pick comes in the second round, 53rd overall.

"We're looking for another wide receiver, you're always looking for more pass rush and you can never have enough corners," Cerrato said. "Those are the kind of areas we'll look at. We'll possibly look for a backup offensive lineman.

"So what we want to do is be able to sign our own and then hopefully there's a CBA and we can answer a lot of questions in free agency. Then we can pick the best players available in the draft."

Asked about the quality of players available in the draft, Cerrato said there was great depth at running back and tight end/H-back. He said it was a poor draft crop for wide receivers.

Regarding defensive linemen in the draft, Cerrto said: "There are some quality defensive linemen there. Historically a lot of them go in the first round, so if you want one, you have to get one right away."

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