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Hostetler Says He Is Near Deal


Quarterback Jeff Hostetler is saying privately that he has reached agreement in principle with the Raiders. The proposed deal would pay the free-agent quarterback from the New York Giants $7.5 million over three years.

The Raiders say there is no deal yet, that they are still evaluating their options. Those options also include free agents Bobby Hebert of the New Orleans Saints and Jim Harbaugh of the Chicago Bears.

Hostetler plans on flying to Los Angeles at the end of the week, hoping to sign a contract at that time. If he does, the determining factor--at least between Hostetler and Hebert--might be money.

Hebert, who has received a two-year offer for a total of $6.2 million from the Saints, is asking for a four-year, guaranteed contract for perhaps as much as $12 million.

Hostetler, who made $1.4 million last year, is willing to settle for a lot less.

He told the Newark Star Ledger on Saturday: "I think it's a great setup. The Raiders have a great defense. The offense has so much speed it is unbelievable, and they're pretty solid up front. What killed them was the quarterback."

Hebert's agent, Greg Campbell, is at the NFL owners meeting in Palm Desert, Calif., and plans to continue meeting with the Raiders.

Hostetler is also being wooed by the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs, but at this point, he says he thinks he already has a deal.

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