Familiar faces among NFL transactions

Employed. Soon-to-be-employed. Unemployed. That's the day in a nutshell for three players of interest to Packers fans.

The employed is Kordell Stewart, the former Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears quarterback. Stewart, who flopped and eventually was benched in favor of rookie first-rounder Rex Grossman during his one season in Chicago, signed with the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday for one year at the league minimum of $760,000.

"If Kordell can have as much success against those other division teams as he had against us, we could be sitting at 3-0 early in September — if has to play," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome told the Baltimore Sun, alluding to the fact the Ravens open against Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

The longtime Steeler owns an 8-1 record against the Ravens.

Kyle Boller, last year's top draft pick, is expected to start.

"Most importantly, I will help Kyle the best way I can with the knowledge I have and try to make him as comfortable as I can," Stewart said. "My role is to be his eyes on the sideline and getting myself prepared if that moment does present itself. We hope it never has to happen. All the best of luck to Kyle."

The soon-to-be-employed is Kurt Warner, the two-time NFL MVP while starring with the St. Louis Rams. The onetime member of the Packers is expected to sign with the New York Giants as soon as Thursday or at least in time for the start of minicamp Monday.

According to Newsday, Warner will sign for two years. He will earn about $3 million this season with incentives worth another $1 million. The 2005 contract can be voided by Warner, which he figures to do if rookie first-round pick Eli Manning makes enough progress to break into the starting lineup.

Warner has lost his last eight starts, and lost his job to Marc Bulger last season.

The unemployed is Atlanta's Tyrone Williams, who started 94 games in Green Bay before bitterly leaving while claiming to be a scapegoat for the defense's shortcomings.

Williams jumped at Atlanta's five-year, $14 million offer last off-season. By cutting him after June 1, the Falcons will save $1.7 million on this year's cap. Williams will count $1.8 million in 2005, though.

Williams arrived at training camp last summer out of shape and quickly fell out of favor with coach Dan Reeves. He was suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team and wound up playing just six games.

New coach Jim Mora Jr. did not invite Williams to the off-season minicamps.

Meanwhile, Mora could have interest in Green Bay's Joe Johnson, who is expected to be released soon. Mora and new Falcons defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who was fired by the Packers from the same post this off-season, have a history with Johnson, and the Falcons are light up front.

"Anywhere you can find players, we'll take a look," Mora told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "(But) it doesn't mean we'll make any moves."

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