2005 free agency: Week 3 overview

As we head into the third week of NFL free agency, let's take a look at what developments took place over the weekend and through Monday.

In the NFC East, things slowed down to a crawl over the past four days.

The Giants signed free agent defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy who will replace the recently released Norman Hand.

The Eagles were able to sign free agent quarterback Mike McMahon who will compete for the main backup job against veteran signal caller Koy Detmer. The club did lose a key player, though, over the weekend. Gone is starting defensive end Derrick Burgess to Oakland. Losing Burgess could hurt if veteran end N.D. Kalu hasn't regained his form before suffering a serious knee injury last year or former first-round pick Jerome McDougle doesn't pick up his play in a big way.

The NFC North was the busiest division over the weekend.

The Detroit Lions lost backup quarterback Mike McMahon, as noted above, but replaced him quickly be agreeing to a one-year deal with Jeff Garcia. He's a good fit for their offensive system and will be ready to play if called upon.

The Green Bay Packers continued their salary cap purge by releasing veteran free safety Darren Sharper because they didn't want to pay his roster bonus and they have yet to sign any free agents from other teams.

The Minnesota Vikings jumped on Sharper after he was released and signed him to a multi-year deal. Sharper should prove to be a big upgrade over Brian Russell who remains a restricted free agent. You have to like their secondary now with the addition of Sharper and cornerback Fred Smoot. Look for them to address their needs at linebacker later in free agency and in next month's NFL Draft.

Turning our attention to the NFC South, that division saw some minor moves take place.

The Atlanta Falcons were able to re-sign veteran cornerback Kevin Mathis and fullback Fred McCrary. Both were key players in the club's success late in the season. They followed that up by signing free agent guard Matt Lehr who will likely compete for a starting job.

The New Orleans Saints re-signed veteran cornerback Jason Craft who will compete for the nickel role.

In the NFC West, the Arizona Cardinals finally stayed out of the free agency fray over the weekend and the rest of the division was quiet as well.

Only the Seattle Seahawks made a few moves. They re-signed veteran offensive lineman Floyd Womack and free agent linebacker Kevin Bentley. The versatile Womack has a good chance to earn a starting job for the first time in his career. Bentley will compete for playing time, likely as a backup.

Turning our attention to the AFC, the Eastern division saw plenty of minor moves being made.

The Miami Dolphins re-signed backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels who will likely man the third spot on the depth chart since the club also reached a contract agreement with free agent Gus Frerotte. Frerotte will get a chance to challenge the incumbent starter A.J. Feeley. The also released veteran fullback Rob Konrad.

The Buffalo Bills released veteran safety Pierson Prioleau who was destined to be a backup this season and they also re-signed backup tight end Ryan Neufeld.

The New England Patriots signed returner/wide receiver Tim Dwight. The oft-injured player will mostly be used on special teams while seeing a few plays here and there as a receiver.

The New York Jets signed free agents linebacker Barry Gardner and quarterback Jay Fiedler. Gardner will serve as depth and will play on special teams. Fiedler will back up starting quarterback Chad Pennington. Fiedler's a nice signing when you consider his strong winning percentage as a starter.

Looking at the AFC North, the Cleveland Browns, as expected, released defensive end Courtney Brown rather than pay him a sizeable roster bonus. The club would like to re-sign him at a reasonable price. The club also signed free agent defensive tackle Jason Fisk, who is a decent run stopper.

The Baltimore Ravens signed former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Keydrick Vincent who looks to be penciled in for a starting job over Bennie Anderson who is an unrestricted free agent.

The Cincinnati Bengals made an important signing with the addition of veteran end/tackle Bryan Robinson who will take over a starting job vacated by Tony Williams who won't be re-signed.

Turning our attention to the AFC South, only one team made any moves over the weekend.

The Houston Texans released veterans inside linebacker Jay Foreman and safety Eric Brown. Foreman should be able to find a job once his surgically repaired ankle is totally healed. Foreman wasn't needed once the club signed free agent linebacker Morlon Greenwood.

Finally, the AFC West saw lots of moves take place.

The San Diego Chargers released veteran quarterback Doug Flutie rather than place him third on the depth chart.

The Chiefs added veteran safety Sammy Knight who is still one of the better players at his position. He'll add some badly needed play making ability to their underachieving secondary.

Finally, the Oakland Raiders added free agent defensive end Derrick Burgess. This move will enable the club to use Burgess at his more natural left end position and to move Tyler Brayton to outside linebacker.

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