WASHINGTON - The Washington Redskins achieved one of their major off-season goals around the midnight stroke that signalled the start of free agency, agreeing to terms for a US$54-million, six-year contract with DeAngelo Hall.
The deal Friday includes $22.5 million in guaranteed money, giving the 25-year-old cornerback his second big payday in as many years. Hall was guaranteed around $24 million in a seven-year, $70 million contract he signed a year ago with Oakland, but he struggled to adjust to the Raiders' man-to-man defence and was waived after eight games.
The Redskins picked him up less than a week later, and he provided a needed boost to a secondary beset by too many injuries and not enough big plays. Hall played in seven games and started the last four, eventually moving ahead of Carlos Rogers on the depth chart.
Hall's five interceptions for the season - three with Oakland, two with Washington - were three more than any other cornerback on the Redskins roster. He has a model citizen during his short time in Washington, avoiding the type of temperamental outbursts that prompted the Atlanta Falcons to trade him to Oakland in 2008.
Hall therefore became a top off-season priority, with owner Dan Snyder wanting to work a deal before the cornerback had a chance to test the free agent market. The negotiations with Hall's agents, Alvin Keels and Joel Segal, went to the last minute - and maybe a little beyond.
With Hall's signing done, the Redskins were expected to focus on free agents from other teams, including Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and Buffalo Bills guard - and former Redskins draft pick - Derrick Dockery. Coach Jim Zorn has said the team will be active in free agency this year, a change from 2008, when Washington uncharacteristically made no major signings.