WASHINGTON -- Attention NFL players everywhere: DeAngelo Hall and Derrick Dockery have come up with the ultimate get-super-rich-in-a-hurry NFL free agency ploy.
Here's how it works. Play well enough to get a big contract with lots of guaranteed millions, then underperform just enough to get released -- but not so much that other teams won't be willing to give you a shot.
Then, in no time at all, you're signing another big contract with lots of guaranteed millions.
Neither Hall or Dockery intended for it to work out that way, but that's exactly the path that led to their back-to-back news conferences Tuesday afternoon with the Washington Redskins.
Both agreed to deals on Friday. Hall got a $54 million, six-year contract that includes $22.5 million guaranteed, less than one year after the cornerback signed a $70 million, seven-year deal with the Oakland Raiders, in which he made $8 million before being cut after eight games.
Dockery's new contract is worth $26.5 million over five years with $8.2 million guaranteed, just two years after the left guard got $18.5 million guaranteed in a blockbuster $49 million, seven-year deal with the Buffalo Bills.
That's a lot of guaranteed money in very little time, at least by NFL standards.
Explaining what happened, both players harped on the same theme: The Redskins feel like home, and those other places didn't.
"I felt closer to these guys than I ever did in Oakland," said Hall. "It's not only the right situation, it's the right scheme, it's the right feel."
Hall grew up in Virginia and always wanted to play for the Redskins. Dockery likes the area so much that he never moved his home after signing with Buffalo -- he would drop by often to visit former teammates and offensive line coach Joe Bugel.
Both spoke of how their talents meshed with the Redskins. Hall prefers to play facing the quarterback rather than pressing and bumping a receiver with his back to the action, which made him ill-suited for Oakland's defense. He admitted he erred in "running to the bucks" when he signed the huge deal with the Raiders.
Dockery, who was OK but nothing special with the Bills, is reunited not only with Bugel but also with left tackle Chris Samuels, center Casey Rabach, right guard Randy Thomas and right tackle Jon Jansen. He diplomatically declined to say whether he regretted taking the money in Buffalo, saying only that the contract presented an opportunity for his family.
Otherwise, the two players were polar opposites. Hall has a checkered past. His outbursts with the Atlanta Falcons prompted the trade that sent him to Oakland. He referred to himself as "cocky and confident" and uttered the phrase "wait and see" at least a half-dozen times, including when asked to answer skeptics who wonder if he was just playing for a contract.
"Good question," he answered. "Just wait and see. I'm not a salesman. All I can do is say look at me in the scheme and see what I do."
Dockery referenced his faith and the "humbling experience" of being cut by the Bills, sounding much like a prodigal son returned home.
"The gang was still here," Dockery said. "I remember the good times. I remember the fun we had as a group."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press