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Pierce, Smoot Negotiations Ongoing

Head coach Joe Gibbs updated the team's negotiations with cornerback Fred Smoot and linebacker Antonio Pierce on Saturday, saying that he hopes both negotiations can be completed before the start of free agency on Wednesday, March 2.

Gibbs, who spoke to media at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, reiterated that both Pierce and Smoot are players the team hopes to build around.

"We want to honor those players who played hard for us that we feel like are Redskins," Gibbs said. "Antonio is one of those [players]. We're doing everything we can to get that resolved and get it done."

Regarding Smoot's negotiations, Gibbs said he spoke with the fourth-year cornerback at Redskins Park on Thursday. "The defensive coaches think a lot of him and we're working hard on that."

The Redskins have until the end of Tuesday to re-sign Pierce, Smoot and a host of other unrestricted free agents. On Wednesday, March 2, the NFL's free agency period begins and those unrestricted free agents are free to negotiate with any other NFL team.

Defensive tackle Joe Salave'a, long snapper Ethan Albright, H-back Mike Sellers, H-back Brian Kozlowski, safety Pat Dennis and defensive tackle Cedric Killings are also headed for free agency.

Offensive lineman Ray Brown is also slated to become an unrestricted free agent, but Gibbs said in early January that he expects Brown, 42, to return to the Redskins for another season instead of retiring.

Gibbs has made no secret that one of the keys to the negotiations in free agency is whether the team can rework left tackle Chris Samuels' contract.

"Chris Samuels is a very valuable player for us and he has one more year on his contract," Gibbs said. "We're interested in Chris Samuels being with us for a long time."

Gibbs knows that nothing is certain in the NFL, so until the deals with Smoot, Pierce and Samuels are signed, he continues to work hard.

"In the NFL and free agency, it's hard to say what will happen," Gibbs said. "You lay out your game plan. It's a lot, but you work as hard as you can. We have a very focused, together group. We make decisions as a group. No one individual makes decisions with the Redskins. It's all of us talking it over.

"We've laid out a game plan and the thing about this, you get curveballs thrown. We're dedicated to doing what's best for the Redskins. I think we have a good game plan and we'll see what happens."

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