Ex-BYU quarterback John Beck might start for Redskins
The Washington Redskins welcomed old players back Tuesday and reached out to some new ones, the start of a frenetic week for a last-place team trying to rebuild itself in a compressed time frame.
Former BYU quarterback John Beck and Utah State tight end Chris Cooley were among several players who walked in the front door at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va., shortly before the start time decreed for the reopening of NFL business following a 4Â½-month lockout.
Beck will face scrutiny like never before, having made the climb from obscure backup to co-favorite for the starting quarterback job despite the fact he hasn't taken a snap in a regular-season game since he was a rookie in 2007. Coach Mike Shanahan effusively praised Beck after signing him a year ago, and Beck was proactive during the lockout arranging throwing sessions with receivers and teaching the playbook to the rookies during the player-organized minicamps.
"He's been basically showing countless effort to be out there and do the work," receiver Anthony Armstrong said. "He's flown in from California time and time again to throw routes. I almost had to ignore his phone calls and text messages. Always he wants to throw."
Beck said he didn't know many details of the lockout-ending agreement because he doesn't have cable television in his house, but he knew enough to make a beeline for Redskins Park on Monday soon after the deal was announced. He wasn't allowed in because the security guard didn't recognize him. Plus, he was a day early.
"I think John Beck has definitely stepped up in his leadership role this offseason," center Casey Rabach said. "It'll be interesting to see who will be our starting quarterback."
Locals to sign rookie free-agent deals
Several players with local ties agreed to rookie free-agent deals Tuesday.
BYU defensive end Vic So'oto will sign with the Green Bay Packers, while safety Andrew Rich and offensive lineman Jason Speredon will sign with the Cardinals.
Agent Joe Linta said he fielded calls from a dozen teams for Utah defensive tackle Sealver Siliga before he signed with San Francisco.
The Dallas Cowboys agreed with cornerback Chris Randle of Utah State and safety Justin Taplin-Ross of Utah.
And receiver Michael Preston, who appeared in two games with the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League, will be signed as an undrafted free agent by the Titans.
Cowboys • Running back Marion Barber, receiver Roy Williams, right guard Leonard Davis and kicker Kris Brown were told they would be cut when the league allows that on Thursday. The moves save the Cowboys about $16.6 million in cap room.
Giants • New York told center and player representative Shaun O'Hara and guard Rich Seubert that they will be released. The Giants are roughly $10 million over the salary cap. The releases will reduce the problem by roughly $6 million.
Ravens • Running back Willis McGahee, former Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap, receiver Derrick Mason and nose guard Kelly Gregg have been told they will be cut, coach John Harbaugh confirmed. The moves will save Baltimore an estimated $18.6 million.
Packers • Linebacker Nick Barnett posted a series of messages on his Twitter account making it clear he had been told his time with Green Bay is over. "Just met with Ted," Barnett posted, presumably referring to Packers general manager Ted Thompson. "Thanks for the great 8 years."
Around the league
Bengals • Owner Mike Brown insisted he won't trade quarterback Carson Palmer, who told the team in January that he would retire if he's not traded. "He's going to walk away from his commitment," Brown said. "We aren't going to reward him for doing it."
Seahawks • Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who has been with Seattle since 2001, will not re-sign with the team, The Seattle Times has learned. It appears the team will sign Tarvaris Jackson, an ex-second-round pick of the Vikings.
Jets • Quarterback Mark Sanchez said he has spoken to his agent about possibly restructuring his contract to help the team re-sign players, such as receivers Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards . He is due to make $14.75 million, but could make as much as $17.75 million with bonuses.
Panthers • Free agent defensive end Charles Johnson, who had a breakout season for Carolina in 2010 with 11Â½ sacks, agreed to a contract worth $72 million over six years, which includes a $30 million signing bonus.