Smith said he received a call Wednesday from Redskins owner Dan
Snyder. "I spoke with Mr. Snyder and it was a football
discussion," Smith said, declining to divulge specifics.
"I don't know whether Dan is the GM/owner like Jerry Jones in
Dallas, but he's heavily involved," Smith said.
The call was Snyder's second to San Diego a league source told the Washington Post for Friday's editions.
According to recent reports, the Redskins are interested in
trading the No. 5 pick and tackle Chris Samuels for the right to
move up and select Iowa tackle Robert Gallery. The Redskins have
been frustrated in their attempts to restructure Samuels' contract.
The Redskins expressed surprise when they heard of Smith's comments.
"That's not the context in which Snyder called," Redskins
spokesman Karl Swanson said. "Clearly San Diego is trying to use
the Redskins as they've used the New York Giants, to generate
interest in a trade. Everyone throws us into the mix because we're
so active, but we're not interested in trading up to No. 1."
Said director of player personnel Vinny Cerrato: "We have no
ammunition to trade. There's nobody we would want to get at No. 1.
We're content at No. 5 or moving down."
Among the downsides: The Redskins would take a cap hit for trading Samuels. They also have only three draft choices, in the first, fifth and sixth rounds.
Last week, Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi called
expressing an interest in trading up from No. 4 to get the top
pick. The Giants are known to covet Mississippi quarterback Eli
Manning, the top-rated player in the draft.
The Chargers, an NFL-worst 4-12 last year, have the top pick for
the second time in four seasons.
Smith had said earlier in the year that the Chargers would begin
calling agents for the top three players 10 days before the draft
to begin discussing contract parameters. Now, he said, those calls
won't be made until the middle of next week because the scouting
staff is behind in evaluating and ranking players.
The Chargers' front office just completed its reading of the scouting reports of half of the team's possible draft choices. It will work on the other half until Wednesday and then start mapping the squad's draft strategy.
Asked if the delay in contacting agents was a sign the Chargers
were planning to trade out of the top pick, Smith said: "Don't
read anything into it."
Smith has had a couple of conversations with Manning's agent, Tom Condon, but no parameters of a deal have been discussed. The Chargers have the ability to discuss contracts with any prospect, and they would like to open negotiations with Manning and others.
Condon also represents Manning's older brother, Peyton, who was
taken by the Indianapolis Colts with the first pick in the 1998
draft. Condon said the Colts didn't decide until the night before
that draft that they would take Manning, leaving the Chargers to
take Ryan Leaf.
Leaf cost the Chargers an $11.25 million signing bonus and
turned out to be one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
While quarterback and a tackle are high on the Chargers' list,
they have several other desperate needs. Trading down would allow
them to stockpile picks and possibly players as well as avoid
paying a hefty signing bonus that a top pick would command.
Four years ago, the Chargers traded the draft's top pick in the
draft to Atlanta for the fifth pick, receiver-returner Tim Dwight
and additional picks. The Falcons took Michael Vick and the
Chargers got LaDainian Tomlinson. San Diego is 17-31 since that
Information from senior NFL writer John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.