The Wednesday wire: FA in full mid-week swing

The signings, the cuts, the potential deals, the rumors and all the other free-agent news from another very active day Wednesday on the NFL's open market.

--- The Cleveland Browns and LB Willie McGinest have agreed on a three-year deal that will pay him $12 million with $6 million in bonus and guarantees.

--- The Tennessee Titans have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with safety Chris Hope, an unrestricted free agent from the Super Bowl Championship Pittsburgh Steelers. The 49ers had been interested in Hope and had scheduled a visit with him at team headquarters later this week.

--- The Seattle Seahawks have reached an agreement with free agent defensive lineman Rocky Bernard on a reported three-year contract worth $13 million that includes a $5.4 million signing bonus. Bernard has spent his entire four-year career with Seattle and his re-signing is a boon to the Seahawk defensive front. He finished second among interior defensive linemen in the NFL with 8.5 sacks and is an integral part of the defensive line rotation.

--- The Seahawks are also interested in a marquee linebacker. Mike Sando of the Tacoma News Tribune is reporting that the Seahawks are planning to meet with 49ers LB Julian Peterson for a free-agent visit in the coming days. Peterson has been one of the few bright spots for the Niners over the years. He is coming off a slow season in 2005 due to a torn Achilles' tendon, but the general consensus is that Peterson will likely be much more effective in 2006. At this point, there's no indication of what Peterson's asking price would be - or if the Seahawks would be willing to accept it - but there can be no doubt that fans would salivate over the idea of a LB trio of Peterson, Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill.

--- The Seahawks also have re-signed free agent WR Peter Warrick to a one-year contract extension worth $1 million. In 2005, Warrick caught 11 passes for 180 yards in a limited role. He also returned 6 punts for 29 yards.

--- TE Jeb Putzier's agent, Joe Linta, told scout.com on Wednesday that the 49ers – along with the New York Jets, Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals - are showing the most interest in his client. Linta added he expects to have a deal completed for Putzier by early next week at the latest.

--- The New York Giants have reached a contract agreement with S Will Demps, a player the 49ers were believed to have strong interested in.

--- The New Orleans Saints released QB Aaron Brooks after signing Drew Brees to be their new starting quarterback. Teams that could be interested in bringing Brooks in as a backup are: Oakland Raiders, Atlanta (should they deal Matt Schaub), New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs.

--- Scout.com has confirmed the Philadelphia Eagles have reached a contract agreement with QB Jeff Garcia. Garcia has yet to sign a contract but is expected to do so within the next 24 hours. Once Garcia is officially in the fold, look for the team to soon release one of their backup quarterbacks, Koy Detmer or Mike McMahon.

--- The Eagles re-signed WR Darnerien McCants to a one-year contract. The 27-year old McCants (6-3, 215) was a reserve wide receiver and a valuable special teams contributor for the Eagles in 2005, as he finished 4th on the team in special teams production points (128) despite playing in only 12 games. He finished the season with five receptions for 87 yards.

--- The Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to contract terms with backup tight end Jerame Tuman, who is entering his seventh year with the team. The Steelers also came to terms with backup offensive tackle Barrett Brooks and claimed fullback Doug Easlick off waivers from the 49ers. Easlick had been signed by the 49ers earlier in the year and allocated to NFL Europe.

--- The Denver Broncos have signed middle linebacker Nate Webster to a two-year deal. Webster, a five year veteran who comes from the Cincinnati Bengals, will receive a $200,000 signing bonus. He is scheduled to get salaries of $585,000 in 2006 and $710,000 in 2007.

--- FB William Henderson had an encouraging meeting with the Vikings coaching staffing Wednesday, but he left town without a contract. The Vikings and Henderson's agent, James Williams, began financial discussions immediately following Henderson's meeting with coaches, but the sides couldn't come to an agreement on the signing bonus, Williams confirmed. Sources say Williams is looking for a $3 million bonus for his client. Henderson said he was encouraged about the possibility of playing with former Packers and current Vikings Darren Sharper and Ryan Longwell, and playing under new Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. He said the offensive system run by Bevell, the quarterbacks coach in Green Bay last year, and head coach Brad Childress will be similar to the one run by the Packers last year. Williams said that Henderson was excited about the possibility of blocking for new Vikings running back Chester Taylor, and the two sides are expected to resume negotiations on Thursday. The free-agent market has a number of talented fullbacks, including 2003 Pro Bowler Fred Beasley, formerly of the 49ers, Mack Strong (Seattle), Tony Richardson (Kansas City) and Jeremi Johnson (Cincinnati). It could be a buyer's market.

--- Restricted free agent wide receiver Nate Burleson will be visiting with the Seattle Seahawks Thursday afternoon and leaving Friday afternoon, according to Burleson's agent, Ken Sarnoff. Burleson was given a third-round tender of $712,000 by the Vikings. If the Seahawks sign Burleson to an offer sheet, the Vikings would have seven days to match it or receive a third-round draft pick as compensation. Burleson is from Seattle and is the type of strong possession receiver the Seahawks are looking for after losing Joe Jurevicius to Cleveland, Jurevicius' hometown, earlier this week.

--- Scout.com has learned that another FA from the Packers, quarterback Craig Nall, was also unable to come to a contract agreement with the Vikings because of the signing bonus. Nall met with the Vikings on Tuesday. The Vikings also wouldn't commit to him being the No. 2 quarterback on the team.

--- Offensive lineman Kevin Barry signed a two-year deal with the Packers.

--- The Packers also reached a multi-year contract agreement with DT Ryan Pickett.

---- Scout.com has learned G Toniu Fonoti, who failed the Oakland Raiders team physical, is close to agreeing to a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Raiders briefly considered signing the former Vikings guard, who visited the team Tuesday. But Fonoti, the Chargers' second-round pick in 2002, failed his physical after agreeing to a one-year deal that would pay him $1 million. Fonoti, whose weight has approached 400 pounds, was traded to Minnesota last season but reported at 385 pounds and was recovering from a broken hand. He finished the season on injured reserve because of a groin injury.

--- Safety Lawyer Milloy reportedly is set for his third free-agent visit when he travels to Seattle to meet with the Seahawks, according to his agent Carl Poston. Milloy has visited with the Bengals and Falcons already.

--- Poston, who was suspended by the NFLPA for two years Wednesday, said cornerback Ty Law has generated interest from the Seahawks, Chiefs and Dolphins. The Packers and Redskins have also reportedly considered Law.

--- The Detroit Lions have re-signed RB Shawn Bryson to a three-year deal. Additional contract terms were not disclosed. Bryson, who first signed with the Lions prior to the 2003 season, continues to be a valuable contributor on offense while filling a myriad of roles. In 2005 he saw action as a tailback, fullback and kick-returner and finished the season as the team's fourth-leading receiver (37 receptions). Bryson's season was highlighted by a career-long 77-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Baltimore (10/9) which was the longest by a Lions' running back since Barry Sanders had an 80-yard run vs. Indianapolis (11/23/9) as well as the longest run from scrimmage ever yielded by the Baltimore Ravens.

--- The Cincinnati Bengals signed S Anthony Mitchell, one of the team's unrestricted free agents, to a one-year contract. Mitchell (6-1, 215; Tuskegee) is a seventh-year NFL player in 2006. He will be in his third season with the Bengals. He played in every game last season and led the team in special teams tackles (18) and special teams snaps (340). On defense, he had 18 tackles, including a sack. Mitchell has never missed a game due to injury, covering 92 contests on an NFL roster since 2000.

-- The Buffalo Bills are expected to have more free-agent visitors this week. Defensive tackle Jermaine Haley, a former Miami Dolphin who was out of the NFL last season, is expected to visit, along with safety Keyon Nash, who has seen time with Oakland the past four seasons. There were indications out of New York the Bills may invite Jets free-agent left tackle Jason Fabini for a visit.

--- The Miami Dolphins made their deal for QB Daunte Culpepper official on Wednesday after they acquired the seven-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowler from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a second-round draft choice in 2006 (19th pick in round, 51st overall). The 29-year old Culpepper (1/28/77) was a first-round draft choice of the Vikings in 1999 (11th overall, 4th quarterback). Since that time, he has gone on to play in 81 regular season games, starting 80 of them. He has completed 1,678 of 2,607 passes (64.4%) for 20,162 yards with 135 touchdowns, 86 interceptions and a passer rating of 91.5. He also has rushed for 2,476 yards and 29 touchdowns on 454 attempts (5.5 avg.). He is third all-time in Vikings history for pass attempts, completions and yards, and is first in completion percentage and passer rating. His career passer rating of 91.5 not only is the first in Vikings history, but it ranks fifth all-time in NFL annals.

---Adam Vinatieri is set for a free-agent visit to the Packers this week. Green Bay has the salary cap space to make a strong offer.

--- The agent for offensive tackle Tom Ashworth has begun contract negotiations with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

--- According to industry sources, the Patriots have arranged a visit this week with free agent offensive tackle Jason Fabini, who has spent his first eight seasons with the Jets.

--- QB Josh McCown visiting Oakland on Wednesday.

--- DT Cedric Killings, a former 49er, has agreed to terms to return to the Redskins, according to Washington coach Joe Gibbs.

--- S Ryan Clark signed with Pittsburgh. He received a four-year deal. Clark, who will enter his fifth season in the NFL in 2006, finished this past season with 72 tackles for the Washington Redskins, which was fourth on the team. He also posted his first two career interceptions and added his first career forced fumble. In 2004, Clark tallied a career-high 91 tackles, including 65 solo.

--- QB Todd Collins signed with Washington, although terms of the deal were not disclosed. He is expected to compete with Jason Campbell for the top backup job behind starter Mark Brunell.

--- S Shaun Williams was signed by Carolina. The former Giant provides the team options in case 2005 first-round pick Thomas Davis winds up at outside linebacker to replace Will Witherspoon.

--- QB Gus Frerrote was released after the Dolphins acquired Daunte Culpepper in a trade with Minnesota.

--- C Kevin Mawae agreed to terms with Tennessee on a four-year, $13 million deal that includes a $4 million signing bonus. It will become official after Mawae passes a physical.

--- DE Kimo von Oelhoffen signed a three-year, $9.2 million deal with the Jets. Von Oelhoffen spent the past six years with the Steelers.


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