Collins In, Brunell Out

Getty Photo-Chris McGrath

Todd Collins wanted a chance to start. But nobody was going to give him that chance, so he returned to a place he felt comfortable – as a backup.

The Redskins re-signed Collins, giving him a three-year, $9 million contract with a $3 million bonus. That's the only move they made Friday, the first day of free agency. And it's likely the only move they're going to make for the time being – at least through the weekend, barring the unforeseen, according to executive vice president Vinny Cerrato.

"We're being smart," Cerrato said. "We're not just going to throw money around on guys."

Collins return signaled the end of Mark Brunell's tenure in Washington, a four-year mixed run. Cerrato said the Redskins would look for a third quarterback via the draft.

For Collins, he becomes one of the highest paid backup quarterbacks in the league, if not the highest. Before free agency, if he couldn't go somewhere he could compete for a starting job, then he wanted security. The Redskins provided the latter. Nobody was going to give him the former.

Jacksonville was the most aggressive courter, with St. Louis and the New York Giants showing interest. But the Rams were slow; and the Giants dropped out once they heard the money.

The Jaguars' offer was comparable, but they wanted an answer quickly. And, considering Collins had never been to Jacksonville nor knew any of the coaches, he opted for the familiar in Washington. The Redskins had not planned on his quick return, but when the Jags made their demand, Collins' agent Brad Blank phoned the Redskins. Owner Dan Snyder got involved and the deal was struck quickly.

Redskins guard Randy Thomas said, "He's a proven vet that's helped us. A lot of teams would like to have a backup like that."

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