Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Updated: March 4, 4:59 PM ET
Redskins bolster defense with two additions
By Len Pasquarelli
So much for the contentions from some Redskins officials that the spendthrift franchise would exercise a degree of restraint on the opening day of free agency.
Restraint lasted only about one-half day for owner Daniel Snyder. The Redskins have begun the refurbishing of their defense by reaching agreement in principle with unrestricted free agent Cornelius Griffin, a tackle who spent the first four years of his career with the New York Giants.
And there was more to come. The Redskins have agreed to a six-year, $30 million deal with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shawn Springs, who also gets a $10 million signing bonus.
Griffin, 27, will sign a six-year contract worth $25.5 million that includes an $8 million signing bonus. Washington could announce the deal on Wednesday afternoon.
A second-round choice in the 2000 draft, Griffin has appeared in 60 games and started 45 of them. He has 191 tackles and 12½ sacks and he is noted for rare athleticism for a 300-pound player. The irony with Griffin is that the former Alabama standout might have had his best season as a rookie, when he posted five sacks despite no starts.
That season, in which the Giants advanced to the Super Bowl, Griffin was a real force as he played in a three-tackle rotation. Then-coordinator John Fox, now the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, devised fronts and stunts to take advantage of Griffin's quickness and even utilized him in pass coverage in zone-blitz situations.
Washington was in dire need of an interior presence, though, after a 2003 season when the Redskins were forced to acquire six different tackles via trades and free agency, and none played very well.
Springs will replace starting cornerback Champ Bailey in the secondary.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.