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Sparano Stays and Other Notes

Thursday update: The coaches wheel continues to spin. Mike Solari will apparently become the next offensive coordinator for the Chiefs, moving up from o-line coach. It is not clear if he will add play calling duties to his line coaching ones, or if Kansas City will hire a new line coach. Assistant line coach Irv Eatman was released from his contract last week.

Former Chiefs OC Al Saunders had landed a lucrative gig as the new OC for Washington. Owner Dan Snyder redefined the pay scale for assistants when he signed DC Gregg Williams to a deal roughly double what other NFL coordinators are paid. The terms were not announced but Saunders will make apparently make more than he would have as HC in Oakland. That means he will get a salary in the neighborhood of $2 million per season.

-- With Sean Payton leaving for New Orleans, the next staff question became the future of offensive line coach Tony Sparano. Payton apparently asked the team for permission to offer coordinator jobs to LB coach Gary Gibbs abd Sparano. The Dallas Morning News reports coach Bill Parcells has decided to keep Sparano on his staff.

-- In the meantime, the open head coaching spots are disappearing. The Saints, Jets, Lions and Rams have filled their vacancies in the last two days, with Detroit hiring Bucs d-line coach Rob Marinelli and St. Louis settling on Dolphins' OC Scott Lineham. The Texans are apparently waiting for Denver's season to end, so they can hire Gary Kubiak. The Raiders and Bills have the last available jobs and bank on Buffalo filling theirs first. Raiders' hegemon Al Davis prefers to wait out all other teams, since he gains leverage over his prospects.

With Marinelli accepting Detroit's offer, Al Saunders and Louisville HC Bobby Petrino currently vie for the Oakland job, being the only two interviewees. Davis may bring in more candidates once Buffalo makes their decision.

Saunders name has surfaced as a prospect for a Cowboys' job should Payton leave. Saunders has wanted a second opportunity after his term as the Chargers head man in the late '80s fizzled. (Saunders had the thankless task of succeeding Don Coryell.) You have to wonder if he wants a spot badly enough to endure Davis' meddling and quick trigger?

-- The Redskins feel they are close to contending for a Super Bowl and are discussing bold moves to get there. Owner Dan Snyder and coach Joe Gibbs are apparently considering ways to get back into the first round. The team does not have a pick, having traded it to Denver last season. The Redskins want a second receiver to complement Santana Moss, among other needs, and are eyeing Colts wideout Reggie Wayne, the top free agent at his position.

However, Washington's current cap number is $113 million, roughly $18 million over next year's projected cap. (scroll down) Washington will have to make some shrewd cuts and restructure several large contracts if it wants to draft, much less play in the free agency pool.

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