- With big names such as Plaxico Burress and Kendrell Bell hitting the open market, few would have thought the first Steelers player to sign a deal elsewhere would be tackle Oliver Ross.
Fewer more would have expected Ross to receive a signing
bonus larger than one the Steelers have ever paid to an offensive
Ross signed a five-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals
worth $17.5 million, including a $6.3-million signing bonus.
Steelers' starting right tackle the past two seasons, was expected by the team
to leave as a free agent. The Steelers selected Max Starks in third round of
last year's draft and he will be given the first opportunity to replace
Burress has yet to make a visit to another team, though his agent
his been in contact with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants. Linebacker
Kendrell Bell, meanwhile, has visited the Giants and Kansas City Chiefs without
working out a deal. Bell is scheduled to visit Philadelphia Saturday.
Steelers are in negotiations with one of their own unrestricted free agents,
cornerback Willie Williams, whom they would like to return to be a backup. The
35-year-old Williams started 10 games and both playoff games for the Steelers
last season, but the Steelers expected Ricardo Colclough or Ike Taylor to hold
down that position in 2005.
- The New Orleans Saints had free agent guard Jermane Mayberry (Eagles) and offensive tackle Fred Miller (Titans) in for visits on Friday.
- The Miami Dolphins had free agent linebacker Matt Stewart (Falcons) and defensive end Bobby Hamilton (Raiders) in for visits on Friday.
- The Buffalo Bills reached a contract agreement with free agent quarterback Kelly Holcomb (Browns) on Friday.
Holcomb is expected to back up second-year quarterback J.P. Losman.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed tight end Dave Moore on Friday.
- The Miami Dolphins signed free agent safety Travares Tillman (Panthers) on Friday.
- The New York Jets re-signed reserve defensive tackle Alan Harper on Friday.
- The Houston Texans re-signed reserve cornerback Jason Bell and fullback Moran Norris on Friday.
- The Seattle Seahawks released outside linebacker Anthony Simmons and safety Damien Robinson on Friday. Both were due roster bonuses soon.
- The Carolina Panthers re-signed reserve wide receiver Karl Hankton on Friday, who is one of their best special teams players.
- The Green Bay Packers released cornerback Michael Hawthorne on Friday.
- Scout.com has confirmed that the New York Jets have signed restricted free agent tight end Jeb Putzier (Broncos) to an offer sheet on Friday. The contract is for five years and $12.5 million.
The Broncos would receive a sixth-round pick as compensation should they choose not to match the offer.
The early feeling is that the Broncos will match the Jets' offer sheet.
The Broncos have one week to match the offer.
- The Buffalo Bills signed free agent offensive lineman Mike Gandy (Bears) on Friday.
He'll likely compete for the vacant left tackle job that opened up when Jonas Jennings signed with the 49ers.
- The Cincinnati Bengals had a visit from free agent running back Anthony Thomas (Bears). Running back Rudi Johnson still has not signed his one-year franchise tender offer.
- The New York Giants reached a multi-year contract agreement with free agent offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie on Friday. McKenzie's signing will enable Luke Petitgout to move to right tackle, where he's better suited to play.
- The San Diego Chargers have re-signed safety Jerry Wilson to a two-year deal. They also re-signed center David Brandt to a two-year deal.
Drew Brees signed his one-year franchise tender and a press conference was scheduled for 11 AM PST.
- The Philadelphia Eagles today have agreed to terms on a five-year contract with free agent linebacker Jeremiah Trotter.
- The Miami Dolphins will have visits from free agent defensive end Tony Bryant (Saints) and safety Travares Tillman (Panthers) on Friday.
- The Arizona Cardinals will have visits from free agent safeties Robert Griffith (Browns) and Steve Gleason (Saints) on Friday.
- The Cleveland Browns reached a one-year deal with free agent punter Kyle Richardson (Bengals) on Friday, one day after Richardson visited the Browns.
He missed the entire 2004 season with a biceps injury.
- The New York Jets reached a multi-year contract agreement with free agent defensive lineman Lance Legree (Giants) on Friday. Legree can play at end and at tackle. Considering how deep the team is currently at end, he is more likely to play at tackle.
Should the team wind up trading defensive end John Abraham, then Legree could play more at end.
- The Chiefs have yet to sign a linebacker but have had free agents Jeremiah Trotter (Eagles) and Ed Hartwell (Ravens) in for visits. Trotter, who passed a physical performed by the team, is still looking to talk to a few other teams. The Chiefs also had free agent cornerback Samari Rolle (Titans) in for a two-day visit. Free agent linebacker Kendrell Bell (Steelers) is visting the team today.
- The Eagles, tiring of waiting on middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, are expected to have free agent linebacker Kendrell Bell (Steelers) in for a visit this evening and he should stay over on Saturday. The next move after that would be for them to bring in Ed Hartwell (Ravens) in for a visit. The Eagles historically haven't paid top dollar for linebackers so it's possible that they look later toward free agency or to the draft should they pass on signing any of the top middle linebackers left on the free agent market.
Friday NFL Free Agency Wire - Updated 11:44 PM ET
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