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Wooing Hackett

From Jason Reid:

Free agent wide receiver D.J. Hackett is scheduled to arrive in town tonight and have dinner with Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations. Hackett is the first free agent to visit the Redskins, which is uncommon for Washington so late into the process.

Under owner Dan Snyder, the Redskins have been among the league's most active teams in free agency from the opening bell, but things have been different this offseason. As for Hackett, Cerrato believes he could be a good fit because of his size (6 feet 2, 208 pounds). Cerrato hopes to persuade the four-year veteran to join the Redskins, team sources said, but only at the right price.

The Redskins have $7.7 million in cap space in addition to having set aside money to sign their picks in the upcoming draft and additional players during the season, if needed, because of injuries. Despite having room to maneuver, however, the Redskins haven't been active in free agency to this point, only re-signing backup quarterback Todd Collins and return specialist Rock Cartwright.

"We're not spending because we choose not to spend at the present time," Cerrato said. "If there would have been somebody out there, or a situation that occurs that warrants us to take a look at it, we would. And if it cost money, we would have looked at an individual who was a high-priced guy if we felt like it was something that made sense for us.

"In our opinion, there was nothing like we felt we wanted to get into a bidding war over for the Redskins. After our evaluations, what we needed and what was out there really wasn't a fit. Whether it be financially, or whether they [certain players] wouldn't fit in our locker room, there's a lot of issues that have to be evaluated."

The Redskins have no concerns about Hackett's ability to make a smooth transition to their organization, team sources said. New coach Jim Zorn, formerly the Seattle Seahawks' quarterbacks coach, worked with Hackett in Seattle. Hackett could provide a big target for quarterback Jason Campbell.

Cerrato is excited about the potential of wide receiver Anthony Mix (6-5, 235 pounds), who was signed off the New York Giants' practice squad in November. But Mix, a college teammate of Campbell at Auburn, has played in only nine games in his two-year pro career and has three receptions for 39 yards.

In his career, Hackett has 105 receptions for 1,394 yards (a 13.3-yard average) and nine touchdowns. He has best season in 2006, setting personal marks with 45 catches for 610 yards (a 13.6-yard average) and four touchdowns. Hackett had a significant role in Seattle's 35-14 victory over the Redskins in the first round of the NFC playoffs, catching six passes for 101 yards (a 16.8-yard average) and one touchdown.

Other than meeting with Hackett, the Redskins are waiting on their own free agents. The Redskins have made offers to offensive lineman Jason Fabini and wide receiver Reche Caldwell. Cerrato believes the roster is in good shape after many young players made major contributions in the team's late-season playoff push, and he's confident most of the Redskins' needs can be addressed in the draft.

"We're looking for depth in certain areas," Cerrato said. "Like I've said, it's not like we need three or four starters."

Cerrato and Karl Swanson still are conducting a search for a media relations director. The early buzz was that Chad Steele, the Baltimore Ravens' media relations director, was the front-runner for the gig, but Cerrato and Swanson could expand the process this week.

Well, hope there's some useful information somewhere in there for someone. As for me, it has been pretty lonely up here in the media room with the other ink-stained wretches taking time off. And it sure has been quiet without J La around (take that however you prefer).

The wife is bugging me to get all the boxes out of the house after the recent move, but someone has to watch this building and I've got to make a living. Along those lines, please watch Comcast SportsNet's "Washington Post Live" tomorrow night between 5 and 6 p.m. Email the show with your Redskins questions and I'm sure host Russ Thaler (guy is a good dude) will try to get them answered. Peace people.

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor  |  March 12, 2008; 4:25 PM ET
 
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