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Redskins to Be 'Very Select' In Free Agency


Head coach Joe Gibbs on Wednesday updated the status of negotiations with free agents Fred Smoot and Antonio Pierce and also emphasized that he does not expect the team to make a big foray into free agency this year.

"We're making an all-out effort to take care of our guys first and then if there's someone out there who we think can help the ballclub, we'll pursue that," Gibbs said.

Smoot and Pierce officially became unrestricted free agents at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

As starters on last year's third-ranked defense, Smoot and Pierce are expected to draw considerable interest around the league.

Gibbs has said that resigning both of those players is a priority--but only if their financial terms don't have a negative impact on the Redskins' salary cap and the team's ability to retain the core group of players.

"[Pierce and Smoot] are two guys that we're working extremely hard on," Gibb said. "We're just going through a process right now. We're trying to get something done."

As for free agency, Gibbs said the team has a free agent "game plan" in place, but added that it's going to be somewhat limited.

"It's not going to be much," he said. "We're going to be very select."

Asked if fans could expect any high-profile free agent acquisitions, Gibbs replied: "Like I said, free agency is going to be real limited. I don't think we're going to do anything real shocking."

Gibbs also updated the status of wide receiver Laveranues Coles, saying that he still hopes to reach a conclusion that would be beneficial to both Coles and the team.

Coles, who caught 90 passes for 950 yards last season for the Redskins, could be traded this offseason.

Gibbs has stressed that no trade is imminent and that it's possible that Coles will remain a Redskin next season.

"The situation has pretty much stayed status quo, for at least the last few days," Gibbs said. "In our talks, Laveranues knows exactly how I feel and I know exactly how he feels. We would like to work our way through that to get what's best for both him and the Redskins.

Several teams have contacted the Redskins about trading for wide receiver Rod Gardner.

The Redskins granted Gardner permission to seek a trade in January. The fifth-year receiver had 51 catches--second-best on the team--for 650 yards and five touchdowns.

"There have been teams that have talked to us," Gibbs said. "When it's going to be resolved, I don't really have a feel for it right now."

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