Highlights from the Ultrablog I

UPDATED 1:30AM FRIDAY MORNING: Our first excerpt from the OBR subscriber ultra-blog, where OBR reporters Lane Adkins and John Taylor are providing minute-by-minute updates. EXCLUSIVE FREE AGENCY INFO not reported at this time anywhere else!


8:20 It looks like the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and San Francisco 49ers will eb the teams most hotly in pursuit of Bernard Berrian. Source: Adam Caplan.
8:29 Adam is also reporting that Saint DT Brian Young is also expected to be very high on the Browns list. With the team releasing Orpheus Roye and letting Simon Fraser go, the team needs to land defensive linemen in free agency.
9:38 Washington Post writer Jason LaCanfora is claiming that the Browns have already dealt for Corey Williams.

9:43 Sources close to Corey Williams confirm that a deal is in the works for Williams, but will NOT confirm that the Browns are the team dealing for him.

10:12 Corey Williams Update: A Browns source tells The OBR that the Browns are one of a number of teams who are/have been talking trade with the Packers regarding the DL.  The Browns currently believe they are the front-runners for his services, and would be willing to to give up a second- or third-round pick to obtain him.  It's believed there is still some haggling going on over the compensation.  We've been told Williams' agents have discussed contract parameters with the Browns, and both sides are in the same ballpark.  The source stated the Browns had Williams at the top of their free-agent to-do list before he was franchised and after Terrell Suggs got the tag from Baltimore. -- JT

10:21 DA Update: The talks between the Browns and DA's agent continue at this hour, even as hopes for a deal before free agency fade.  Sources tell The OBR that the Browns have yet to up their offer, and will likely stand pat with what's on the table.  It will take a major concession from the DA camp in order to get a deal done before midnight. -- JT

10:41 Five teams of interest in the Williams trade talks, with the Packers, according to sources (Lane) 

11:05 Agree with what's been said in the media on Williams, except that the Washington Post and PFT jumped the gun. It's not a done deal yet. Clayton and Grossi are both correct in how they are reporting it.

11:07 All indications lead to the Browns being very close to a deal with the Packers from Corey Williams,  sources tell us at this hour. Official word of a deal for Williams could come early Friday morning. - LA 

11:11 Anderson Update - Sources tell the Orange and Brown Report, Derek Anderson has not accepted the latest offer on the table from the Browns. Representatives for Anderson continue discussions with the Browns, but a deal appears very questionable prior to free agent player signing period. - LA 

11:13 Williams Update - Sources tell the Orange and Brown Report, the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers have reached a preliminary deal for defensive lineman Corey Williams. - LA 

0:13 [Comment From Koesters]
ESPN is reporting that Williams will get a 6 year deal worth 38 million from us, if he passes his physical. Have you guys heard anything to back up that ESPN report?

0:14 Koesters - Upon the contract being inked and Williams passing his physical. The numbers are similar, but we are looking for the bonus and guaranteed compensation - LA  

0:27 BREAKING NEWS: Travis LaBoy has a visit set up with Cleveland as well as the New Orleans Saints. He would pay OLB in the Browns scheme. This is from Terry McCormick of the Nashville City Paper. Very reliable source. 

0:38 DA UPDATE: The Browns and Anderson's agents gained some ground in their talks tonight, but not enought to prevent the now free-agent QB from testing the market.  According to a league source, TWO teams contacted Anderson's agents shortly after midnight expressing interest in the QB.  The source would not identify either of the teams.  The Browns are now executing their free-agent strategy as if Anderson will not be a member of the Browns in 2008.

0:53 You want a Pace update? You get a Pace update: according to a source close to the LB, the Browns were one of a handful of teams who contacted his representation shortly after the stroke of midnight.  No visits to any of the interested parties has been scheduled as of 20 minutes ago. -- JT

0:56 Sources tell the Orange and Brown Report, the Browns have contacted representatives for FA linebacker Lance Briggs shortly after midnight. From what I am getting, the Browns have only expressed an interest - LA

1:17 FOXSports.com has learned Cleveland has re-signed safety Nick Sorensen to a three-year, $2.5 million contract. A special teams ace, Sorensen played half the 2007 season with the Browns following his release by Jacksonville

1:24 Draft Note: The Browns talked extensively with 6-2, 305 pound defensive tackle Marcus Harrison of Arkansas at the combine.

1:26  UPDATE: Per a league source, the Browns contacted "numerous agents" representing FA front-seven talent shortly after the start of free agency.  As we hear it, the Browns have the available free-agent talent rated close enough that they've decided to cast a wide free-agent net and hope to snag at least one of their targeted players.  If they have to "over-extend" for a free agent, they have contingencies built in, cap-wise. -- JT


10:05 From New England: DL Mike Wright was tendered at the Second round level $1.41 million. LB Tedy Bruschi has agreed to a multiyear deal. CB Randall Gay is expected to sign elsewhere and not return to NE, according to his agent this evening.

0:04 Cowboys may send DT Jason Ferguson to Miami for a sixth round draft pick:

0:37 Kelley Washington has signed with the Patriots: According to a league source, the Patriots have agreed to terms with wide receiver Kelley Washington on a new contract. The special teams standout didn't have his $4 million option picked up and was set to become a free agent right … about … now. But the two sides worked it out. Details of the deal were not disclosed. 

0:42 From the Titans: It appears that Tennessee will be taking a look at Javon Kearse, likely with respect to a single-year, incentive laden deal. 

0:43 Interst in Cleo Lemon, mentioned earlier on this blog: Cleo Lemon has heard from the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars and is visiting with the Jaguars tomorrow.

0:45 Scout.com has confirmed free agent DE Tyler Brayton (Oakland Raiders) has a visit set up with the Carolina Panthers. Oakland tried to get him re-signed before midnight EST but he decided to test the market. The former first-round pick played quite a bit this past season at defensive tackle so his versatility could help him find interest from other teams as free agency progresses. 

1:05 [Comment From Kinder]
Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that receiver Randy Moss is "signed, sealed, and delivered" to remain in New England. There has been no official word from the team of any deal.

1:05 [Comment From Kinder]
Vikes also have made arrangements for a Friday visit from Bengals defensive end Justin Smith.

1:10 FoxSports is reporting that Jerry Porter is going to visit Jacksonville, and may have already reached a contract agreement 

1:11 The Kansas City Chiefs hope to have both Seattle Kicker Kris Brown  and New Orleans Center Jeff Faine in KC tomorrow afternoon.  Faine is also being courted by the Bucs who want the first visit.  I've confirmed that Brown is going to visit the Chiefs and the Rams - just  not sure at the moment who is going to get the first shot at him.  - Nick Athan, Scout Chiefs site 

1:15 Stephen Holder of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Bucs have reached an agreement with free-agent center Jeff Faine, previously of the Saints. Per Holder, the deal makes Faine the highest-paid center in the game.

1:19 Scout.com's Adam Caplan is reporting that the Buccaneers are expected to entertain Atlanta LB DeMorrio Williams in the near future. Kansas City and Chicago are rumored to be interested, too. 

1:25 FOXSports.com has learned Detroit defensive end Corey Smith is tentatively scheduled for a Monday free-agent visit with Green Bay. A seven-year NFL veteran, Smith saw action in 16 games last season with two starts. 

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