Redskins courting Courtney

Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Washington Redskins made the first overtures to Courtney Brown, with coach Joe Gibbs flying to Cleveland on Tuesday to try to woo the one-time top draft pick who was cut by the Browns the previous day.

Within hours after Brown's release, Gibbs and defensive line coach Greg Blache had dinner with the oft-injured defensive end and his wife.

Cleveland has said it would like to re-sign the No. 1 pick in the 2000 draft, who was released a day before he was due a $2.5 million roster bonus. If Brown were to join the Redskins, he would be reunited with his Penn State teammate, linebacker LaVar Arrington, who was taken with the second overall pick that year and also has been plagued by injuries.

If Washington acquires Brown, the team will have the top three picks from that draft: Brown, Arrington and tackle Chris Samuels.

In another development Tuesday, Minnesota signed wide receiver Travis Taylor, a disappointment with Baltimore after being taken 10th overall in 2000. It probably put an end to any chance Plaxico Burress will end up with the Vikings, one of the few teams that had some interest in the player thought to be the most sought receiver in free agency.

Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace wrapped up a two-day visit with the Houston Texans, the first step of a process that could eventually lead to a trade with St. Louis.

''We've had contact with the Rams and we brought the player in for a visit,'' Texans general manager Charley Casserly said. ''That's all I'm going to say for now.''

St. Louis faces a 4 p.m. EST Wednesday deadline to re-sign Pace. After that, under NFL rules the Rams wouldn't be allowed to strike a deal with him until July 15.

With most of the top players in free agency already signed, there were some lesser contract agreements Tuesday.

Tight end Anthony Becht, a late first-round pick in 2000, signed with Tampa Bay, leaving the New York Jets. The Bucs are hoping his blocking helps their run game.

Offensive tackle Stockar McDougle signed with Miami. McDougle had been Detroit's starting right tackle.

Arizona signed former Seattle linebacker Orlando Huff.

Jacksonville re-signed wide receiver Troy Edwards and running back Chris Fuamatu-Maafala, both former Pittsburgh Steelers.

Green Bay, which lost starting guards Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle, re-signed lineman Grey Ruegamer and safety Todd Franz.

Baltimore re-signed long snapper Joe Maese and signed former Denver offensive lineman Cooper Carlisle.

Maese has been Baltimore's long snapper since 2001, missing only two games. His contract is worth $1.185 million and includes a $100,000 signing bonus.

The New York Giants released defensive end Keith Washington, the second veteran defensive lineman they've let go in two days; they cut Norman Hand on Monday.

The Browns re-signed free agent linebacker Ben Taylor to a one-year contract. Taylor has played in just 23 games — 10 starts — since being drafted in the fourth round in 2002.

New England re-signed offensive tackle Tom Ashworth, a starter for the 2003 championship team who was injured for most of last season.

Free safety Tebucky Jones was cut by New Orleans. Jones played better last season after he was criticized for his poor tackling and lack of big plays in 2003. But this month's signing of safety Dwight Smith, plus a $400,000 bonus Jones was due on Tuesday, made him expendable.

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