Head coach Joe Gibbs acknowledged on Thursday that the Redskins expected to lose free agent linebacker Antonio Pierce to another team this week. Pierce has officially signed with the New York Giants.
"It's one of those things that you don't want to have happen," Gibbs said when asked about Pierce leaving Washington. "Antonio played great for us last year. We would have loved to have gotten him re-signed. We went as far as we could go, but it just didn't work out.
"I hate [losing Pierce]. This is not going to happen very often to us."
The Redskins negotiated with Pierce all the way through Wednesday, with Gibbs speaking directly to Pierce on several occasions.
But Pierce reportedly received an offer from the Giants that was substantially higher than what the Redskins were willing to afford under the confines of the salary cap.
"Antonio was somebody we wanted to keep, but we reached a point where we couldn't go any farther," Gibbs said. "We came to a decision where we felt like, 'Hey, this is the prudent and smart thing for us to do.'"
In four seasons with the Redskins, Pierce was mostly a backup and special teams player--until last season.
With Mike Barrow sidelined with knee tendonitis, Pierce stepped in at middle linebacker and started all 16 games, recording a team-high 160 tackles (109 solo), one sack and four interceptions. For his efforts, Pierce was named a second alternate to the Pro Bowl.