In the wake of a wild week
--- WR Brandon Lloyd's contract demands exceeded what the 49ers were willing to pay on a multi-year deal. Instead, the 49ers virtually locked up Lloyd for another season with a one-year, $1.552 tender. The 49ers own the right of first refusal and would receive a first-round pick as compensation if Lloyd signs an offer sheet with another club. The 49ers debated for much of the last couple months at what level to tender Lloyd, a fourth-round pick in 2003. But because of the dearth of starting caliber receivers available through free agency and the draft, the 49ers felt they could not take any chances with Lloyd. "You have to look at the entire picture, but first he has to warrant it just by his ability to play," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. The 49ers expect to enter next season with the same starting receivers. The 49ers signed Arnaz Battle to a four-year, $9.44 million extension with $2.56 million in guaranteed money last season. Many consider the receiver positions one of the spots where the 49ers need the most help. Battle has been hampered by injuries, and Lloyd has shown a reluctance to go over the middle. "Arnaz was a good player for us when he played, and Brandon has a lot of NFL skills," 49ers receivers coach Jerry Sullivan said. "But I want competition to be hot and heavy." --- QB Ken Dorsey has a one-year, $712,000 contract tender with the 49ers. San Francisco owns the right of first refusal and would receive a seventh-round draft pick as compensation if he goes to another team. --- QB Jesse Palmer (released by Giants 9/3, 49ers 11/28) was added to the 49ers' roster. --- WR Nate Burleson has received the lowest possible qualifying offer from the Minnesota Vikings as a restricted free agent. Burleson, 24, entered the 2005 season as the Vikings' No. 1 receiver, but a variety of injuries limited him to 30 receptions and one touchdown. As a result, Burleson received a tender that is worth $712,000 and would give the Vikings a draft pick equal to the round in which he was selected (third) if he goes elsewhere. The Vikings would have seven days to match any offer Burleson receives; if Burleson bolts, the Vikings are in position to dip into free agency to find another receiver. --- LB LaVar Arrington has reached an agreement on a contract buyout with the Redskins, the team announced Sunday. Arrington will become a free agent. --- RB Shaun Alexander has agreed to an eight-year, $64 million contract to stay with the Seattle Seahawks. Alexander has not officially signed the deal, which must be approved by the league. The contract reportedly including $15.1 million in guaranteed money. --- QB Chad Pennington agreed to a restructured contract with the New York Jets that guarantees $3 million in 2006 and includes $6 million in playing time bonuses. --- RB Ahman Green has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal that will pay him $2 million in base salary and includes $3 million in incentives. --- LB Derrick Brooks has reportedly agreed to a restructured contract that provides the Bucs with salary cap help while extending his contract four years. Brooks was due to count $7.75 million against next year's salary cap, which would have been too pricey for Tampa Bay unless a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached. But the new deal provides the team around $5 million in salary cap relief. --- LB Chris Claiborne (failed physical/knee) was released by St. Louis. --- CB Andre Dyson was cut by Seattle. --- S Mike Brown, who has missed 18 of the last 32 regular-season games with the Chicago Bears because of injuries, is a concern for GM Jerry Angelo because of his heath. As a result, Brown's off-season workouts will be adjusted to prevent injuries like the strained calf that kept him out of four games last season and most of the playoff loss to the Panthers. "We did (that with) Brian Urlacher two years ago (after he suffered four injuries in the 2004 season), and Brian changed his whole regimen of training," Angelo said. "Strength and conditioning coordinator) Rusty Jones spent an inordinate amount of time with him in certain areas that really helped him, and I think Brian would say the same. It's something we feel we can work on. We're addressing certain things with each player, and we're probably going to be doing something a little bit different with Mike in the off-season." --- QB Joey Harrington will get a head start on the Detroit Lions' new offense with new coordinator Mike Martz. Harrington and backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky, last year's fifth-round draft pick, were scheduled to begin working with Martz in early March, about two weeks before the official start of the Lions' off-season training program. The most appealing part of the new offense - for Lions fans and possibly for Harrington - is that Martz does not practice or preach the West Coast offense. Harrington was not a good fit in the West Coast as a rookie under Marty Mornhinweg or the past three seasons under Steve Mariucci, who staunchly refused to adjust his offense to his quarterback or receivers. Under Martz, the offense will be entirely different. "That's a culture shock, totally different," Martz said. "All the drops we use, the terminology is different, everything is different. I think it's a nice thing for him, it's a good thing for me to go through; it's a nice start for me. "It's a new chapter in my life," said Martz, who was fired as the St. Louis head coach at the end of the 2005 season, "and I think it's a nice chapter for Joey." --- CB Ricky Manning Jr. was given the low tender offer by the Carolina Panthers, raising the possibility the team's 2003 NFC playoff star could play elsewhere next season. Instead of giving Manning the higher tender offer of $1.552 million for the 2006 season, which would have forced another team to give up a first-round pick to get him, the team decided to go with the lower tender offer of $712,000, which only requires a third-round pick as compensation for signing him. Manning's agent, Jim Ivler, said he was surprised by the move, but not necessarily upset. "If they had placed the higher tender on him, I don't think anyone would have given up a first-round pick," Ivler said. "But now we'll have to wait and see. There's a little bit of a door for Ricky. I wouldn't say I'm happy or not happy. Yeah, it would have been nice to earn $1.5 million, but now Ricky also has a chance to earn more money if he's signed to an offer sheet." Manning, who lost his starting job to Ken Lucas last season, has said he'd like to be a starter again. Ivler is hoping another team will look at his client's past experience and offer him a long-term contract. In any event, the Panthers would have seven days to decide whether or not to match an offer sheet signed by Manning. --- RB Stephen Davis was rumored to possibly have a shot to return to Carolina at a lower salary, but sources close the situation said that's unlikely to happen. Davis, 32, had said in the past he didn't want to play for anyone other than the Panthers, so there's a possibility he may retire. Davis, in particular, was a tough decision for management given what he'd done for the team in the past, rushing for 1,444 yards in their only Super Bowl season. "Stephen was a big reason we went to the Super Bowl in 2003," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. "When we signed him, it was said that he was the type of player who when he put his helmet on he set the tone for the rest of the team and that certainly proved to be an accurate assessment." --- RB J.J. Arrington is already being thrown under the bus by many fans after a disappointing rookie season with the Arizona Cardinals - similar to the start the 1996 second-round pick Leeland McElroy and 2000 first-round pick Thomas Jones had as rookies with the team -- coach Dennis Green isn't among them. Green acknowledges that Arrington had a disappointing debut after rushing for 2,000 yards at California in 2004. "What he needs is another chance to go in and show he's the player we believed he was when we drafted him," Green said. "I believe he is that player, but I'm not going to try to convince you of it. He's got to get a chance to play and have a chance to do that, regardless of whether we draft a back or not. We could easily draft a back and he doesn't beat J.J. out. That could easily happen." --- C Kevin Mawae was a cap casualty Sunday as he was cut by the Jets. The 6-foot-4, 289-pound Mawae, who played eight seasons for the Jets, wasn't the biggest center, but certainly was one of the most athletic. The Jets used him much like a pulling guard in their running game, as he often was the lead blocker for Curtis Martin on sweeps. He started 125 consecutive games for the Jets, both in the regular season and playoffs, until a torn triceps against Buffalo on Oct. 16 ended his 2005 season. And, as it turns out, his Jets career. --- Jets OL Pete Kendall, a guard for most of his career, could take over for released center Kevin Mawae after having his contract extended Sunday. Kendall stepped into the breach at center after Mawae was hurt, and after some celebrated snapping mishaps on Monday night at Atlanta, he settled down and performed quite admirably in the role. --- RG Terrence Metcalf has agreed to a six-year, $12.5 million contract that will keep him off the free agent market. --- LB Larry Stevens was cut by Houston. --- PK Ola Kimrin (released by Titans 8/25) was added to Miami's roster. --- DE Brady Smith (failed physical/toe) was cut by Atlanta. --- LB Dat Nguyen was placed on the reserve/retired list by Dallas. --- DT Willie Blade (failed physical/leg) was cut by Dallas. --- DT La'Roi Glover was cut by Dallas. --- S Derek Pagel was cut by Dallas. --- PK Brett Visintainer (failed physical/back) was cut by Dallas. --- DB Wendell Williams (failed physical/shoulder) was released by Green Bay. --- CB Michael Harden was cut by Seattle. --- LB Jamie Sharper (failed physical/knee) was cut by Seattle. --- OT Mitch White (failed physical/head) was cut by Tampa Bay. --- K Robbie Gould connected on 21 of 27 field-goal attempts, and his 77.8 percent success rate is the most accurate in Chicago Bears history among kickers with 25 or more attempts. And even though the Bears were pleased with Gould's kickoffs, they won't give him the job this season without a fight. On Thursday, they signed kicker Matt Fordyce to a two-year contract. Fordyce entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Cardinals in 2004. The Fordham University product spent the 2004 and 2005 training camps with the Cardinals. --- LB Boss Bailey has been the Lions' strong-side linebacker, but that could change under the system coach Rod Marinelli and defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson have in mind. Henderson, the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets the past two seasons, likes linebackers who can run and widen the field against opposing running backs, and that means the Lions' linebackers could face a complete reshuffling for 2006. "I'm not going to go into the entire scheme because it's complex," Millen said, "but Boss could play the middle. He could also be on the weak side or stay on the strong side. All of our linebackers could play any of the three positions. We'll have to settle on where we want them." Last year's alignment found Bailey at the strong side (until he was injured and went to injured reserve), with James Davis at the weak side and Earl Holmes in the middle. Teddy Lehman and Alex Lewis, two more fast, athletic linebackers, missed virtually the entire season with injuries. Holmes did a good job in the middle but, at 33, doesn't have the speed to chase down many running backs. He is also an unrestricted free agent. --- C/G Jason Whittle signed a one-year contract with Minnesota. Whittle had been released by the Giants. --- OG Adam Goldberg was signed by Minnesota to an exclusive-rights tender for a third-year player. --- S Willie Offord signed a two-year deal with the Vikings on Friday. Offord was one of the Vikings' unrestricted free agents.
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