Titans Aiming High In Free Agent Hunt
The Tennessee Titans are reportedly hoping the pursuit of one perennial
Pro Bowler will help them land another.
The Titans were planning to meet with former Minnesota Vikings guard
Steve Hutchinson, league sources told ESPN, and hoped adding him would
make Tennessee a more tempting place for Peyton Manning to play.
The players have become friendly after spending time together
during the Pro Bowl over the years, as Manning's been to 11 of them and
Hutchinson, who was released by the Vikings during their three-player
salary purge last week, also drew the Titans' interest before Manning
entered the picture. But at this point, any little bit that
could help Tennessee break through to sign the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback would be seen as a benefit.
Titans owner Bud Adams made it clear where his priorities are this
"I want Manning," he told The Tennessean. "I'd love to see him in Titan
blue after watching him so many years with the Colts ... I want him. I
am ready to do what it takes to get him aboard, and I think he'd be the
guy to get us into the playoffs."
They were strong words, which the Titans will have to back up with
stronger actions as the fight for Manning has been in full swing.
Manning was set to visit with Titans coach Mike Munchak and other
Titans coaches Tuesday or Wednesday, sources told ESPN, but he's
already met with three teams.
The most recent was the Miami Dolphins, where Manning spent six hours
with head coach Joe Philbin, the NFL Network reported.
Manning has also had extensive visits with the Denver Broncos and
Arizona Cardinals and ESPN reported last week the Broncos were in the
lead, but the race was not yet over.
Tennessee's pursuit of Manning halted its previous focus on going after
Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams, a league source told ESPN.
A New Marshall In Windy City
--Wide receiver Brandon Marshall will be reunited with his former
quarterback, Jay Cutler, as the Chicago Bears have acquired him in a
trade with the Miami Dolphins.
The Bears announced the acquisition of Marshall but said only that they
gave up two undisclosed draft picks. Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported
that Chicago would send this year's third-round draft pick and next
year's third-round draft pick to Miami, and the story was later
confirmed by other media outlets.
Marshall, a three-time Pro Bowl player, and Cutler were starters
together in Denver in 2007 and 2008, and the receiver had the two
biggest years of his career in terms of receiving yards (1,325 in '07,
1,265 in '08).
Marshall's string of consecutive 1,000-yard receiving years has reached
five, including each of the past two years with Miami. Larry Fitzgerald
and Roddy White are the only other receivers with such a five-year
The Broncos traded Marshall to the Dolphins in April 2010 amid reports
that the receiver's stellar play was being offset by a sometimes
questionable attitude. Then-Denver coach Josh McDaniels suspended
Marshall for the 2009 season finale, a game the Broncos lost to keep
them out of the playoffs.
Marshall wasn't the only receiving target for Chicago this offseason.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the Bears were trying to acquire free
agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson but that his price might have gone
to high for them.
The Marshall trade could have a trickle-down effect, boosting the
Dolphins' chances in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. The free agent
quarterback is making the rounds, having already met with the Broncos,
Cardinals and the Dolphins. He is due to meet with the Tennessee
One of Manning's former targets, Reggie Wayne, is also on the free
agent market. Without Marshall, there's plenty of room for Wayne. That
could be enticing to the veteran quarterback looking for a winning
Jackson Calls Tampa Home
--With the wide receiver market quickly taking shape, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers landed one of the top prizes: Vincent Jackson.
The Buccaneers and the free agent receiver reached a contract
agreement, Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported via
ESPN and the San Diego Union-Tribune previously reported that the
Buccaneers and Jackson were in negotiations shortly after the free
agency period opened at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Already in the first hour of wheeling and dealing, the Chicago Bears
had acquired receiver Brandon Marshall from the Miami Dolphins for two
draft picks, and free agent receiver Pierre Garcon had announced that
he'd reached agreement on a deal with the Washington Redskins.
Jackson, 29, has played seven seasons with the Chargers, topping 1,000
yards three times. After missing 11 games in 2010 due to a contract
dispute, he had 60 catches for 1,106 yards and a career-high-tying nine
touchdowns in 2011.
He played last year with San Diego after the team gave him the
Washington Making Waves
--The move to acquire the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft,
presumably to select quarterback Robert Griffin III, is already paying
dividends for the Washington Redskins.
Wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who spent four years with the Indianapolis
Colts, announced that he had reached a free agent agreement with the
If Washington had hoped the prospect of playing with Griffin would
attract free agent wide receivers, the plan is already working.
"I wanted you all to hear it from me 1st before u saw it on the news...
I will be signing with the Washington Redskins and I'm very excited
about the opportunity in front of me," he wrote on Facebook.
Colston Back With The Saints
--Drew Brees won't have to worry about one of his top targets, Marques
Colston, testing the free agent waters.
Colston said Tuesday he had little desire to do so, after the New Orleans Saints announced he signed a five-year contract extension a
couple of hours before he would have become an unrestricted free agent.
The deal was worth between $35 million to $40 million, according to
"This was important to me, to be back with this team in this
situation," Colston said in a statement released by the team. "I was
not looking to chase free agency; it was more important for me to be
back in our program, a program we have been building and a program I
"The Saints have been loyal to me from the beginning and I want to
thank my agent Joel Segal and Saints GM Mickey Loomis for getting this
deal done before free agency. Now it is time to get back to work and
win some more rings."
Other teams were not as likely to be as happy about the news as the
wide receiver would have been among the most coveted free agents at his
Colston, 28, has totaled over 1,000 yards receiving in his past three
seasons and five of his six seasons with the Saints.
That made him just one of seven NFL players to reach the 1,000-yard
mark in five of his first six seasons in the league. He is the only
Saint to put together back-to-back 1,000-yard years.
Broncos Teammates Suffer Setback
--After Denver Broncos teammates D.J. Williams and Ryan McBean filed
suit against the NFL, asking it to change the ruling that the players
violated its performance-enhancing drug policy, the NFL Players
Association issued a statement questioning the league Tuesday.
Williams and McBean were suspended for six games each, without pay, for
allegedly substituting a nonhuman specimen during their urine tests.
While the collector in the case had since been fired for not properly
handling his duties, the players lost their appeal.
Following the lost appeal, the players filed suit in Denver district
court Monday, according to The Denver Post.
"The NFLPA is disappointed by the decisions in the cases of Ryan McBean
and D.J. Williams," the players' association statement said. "Despite
substantial evidence of breaches in the collection protocol and other
procedural irregularities, the NFL decided to punish these players
without judicious review of the facts.
"The League-appointed hearing officer then affirmed the discipline,
even though the specimen collector was fired by his agency for not
following procedures. The NFL also failed to produce the sample
collector as a witness during the players' appeals hearing."
Herremans Gets Extension
--The Philadelphia Eagles signed tackle Todd Herremans to a three-year
contract extension, which will keep him with the team through 2016, the
Eagles announced Tuesday.
Herremans started all 16 games for the Eagles last year, after playing
mostly guard in his previous six seasons for them. He was part of an
offense that set a team record with 6,386 total yards last year, a
season after the team notched another franchise mark with 439 total
"We are excited to be able to sign Todd to a new contract," Eagles head
coach Andy Reid said. "Todd's intelligence, toughness, durability, and
leadership are second to none. Very few players in the NFL can play at
an extremely high level at both the guard and tackle positions and Todd
has done that for us.
"He has been a big part of the success of our offense over the last
Cox Promises To Be Better
--After the San Francisco 49ers announced they signed Perrish Cox to a
two-year contract Tuesday, the cornerback said he would not put himself
in position to gather attention off the field.
Cox was acquitted earlier this month on sexual assault charges, with
the allegations stemming from an alleged incident in 2010 at a party at
The cornerback was released by the Denver Broncos last year and did not
play during the 2011 season, with the team saying the move was
performance-related, not tied to the allegations.
While Cox said in a conference call after the 49ers signing that he
"just wants everyone involved in (the case) to go on with their lives,"
he acknowledged that he put himself in a bad position.
Orton To Dallas?
--Quarterback Kyle Orton, who became a free agent Tuesday, was expected
to talk with the Dallas Cowboys.
The San Antonio Express News, ESPN and NFL Network all reported that
Orton was due to visit Dallas to meet with team officials.
NFL Network also reported that the Washington Redskins have interest in
Orton to serve as a veteran backup to incoming rookie Robert Griffin
III, the team's presumptive first-round pick.
Orton, 29, lost his job with the Denver Broncos to Tim Tebow after
going 1-4 in five starts early last season. After the Broncos waived
Orton, Kansas City picked him up, and he went 4-3 for the Chiefs down
Bears Want Campbell
--The Chicago Bears are reportedly talking with free agent quarterback
According to the Chicago Tribune, ESPN and NFL Network, the Bears were
in negotiations to add Campbell as a backup to starting quarterback Jay
Campbell, 30, began last season as the Oakland Raiders' starter, and he
won four of six games. However, he broke his collarbone in an Oct. 16
game against the Cleveland Browns, knocking him out for the rest of the
The Sports Xchange's Len Pasquarelli reported that Campbell has been
deemed healthy and ready to go.
Chargers Remain Solid Up Front
--Center Nick Hardwick agreed to a three-year contract with the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday, just a few hours before he would have become
a free agent.
Hardwick is now under contract through the 2014 season. Terms of the
deal were not disclosed.
Hardwick, 30, entered the league in 2004 and is the Chargers' most
experienced offensive lineman.
Questions remain about who will become the Chargers' left tackle.
Marcus McNeill, a starter until he sustained a season-ending neck
injury, was released on Tuesday, and Jared Gaither, who filled in last
season, had not yet been re-signed when the Hardwick signing was
Titans Brings Back Linebackers
--The Tennessee Titans announced several deals to bring back players
Tuesday and were reportedly set to announce they had reached terms with
safety Jordan Babineaux.
The Titans were expected to make the deal with Babineaux official later
Tuesday, Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com reported via Twitter.
Earlier in the day, the Titans announced they had signed linebacker
Patrick Bailey to a multi-year deal and that guard Fernando Velasco and
defensive end Malcolm Sheppard had signed their contracts as exclusive
rights free agents.
Babineaux had 89 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a
97-yard interception return for a touchdown last season. He had played
his previous seven seasons for the Seattle Seahawks.
Bailey has played the last two years for the Titans after playing for
the Pittsburgh Steelers in his previous two seasons. He was a key
special-teams player for Tennessee last year.
Bears Sign Jennings To 2-Year Deal
--The Chicago Bears signed cornerback Tim Jennings to a two-year
contract, the team announced Tuesday.
Jennings started 15 of the Bears' 16 games last season and 28 of 32 in
the past two years, after playing his first four seasons with the
He picked off three passes in his time with the Bears, while piling up
153 tackles (six for loss), two forced fumbles and two fumble
For his career, Jennings has played in 85 games and notched 310
tackles, with seven interceptions and 42 pass break-ups.
He's also had five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in that
span, which included 49 starts.
--With the Dallas Cowboys looking at a large salary-cap hit tied to
moved made two years, the team cleared some room Tuesday by cutting
cornerback Terence Newman and kicker David Buehler.
According to DallasCowboys.com, the team will save $6 million in this
year's cap by releasing Newman, including an extra $2 million by
designating him as a "June 1" cut.
Multiple media reports have linked the Cowboys to free agent
cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan and Brandon Carr as possible
replacements. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Carr planned to visit
the Cowboys on Tuesday night.
According to ESPN.com, the Cowboys also reworked the contracts of
tackle Doug Free and cornerback Orlando Scandrick, creating another
$8.56 million in salary-cap room.
Eagles Tender DT Dixon
--Antonio Dixon was tendered at a second-round level by the
Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.
The move, reported by multiple outlets, puts the restricted free agent
defensive tackle's 2012 salary at $1.927 million.
The Eagles would have seven days to match an offer from another team if
one is made before April 20. Otherwise, the team would receive
compensation in the form of a second-round draft pick.
Dixon, who was lost for the season with a torn triceps in October, was
expected to return in time for spring practices, the Philadelphia
In his last full season for the Eagles in 2010, Dixon had 30 tackles
and two sacks in 15 games, 10 of which he started.
Bengals Make 3 Offers
--The Cincinnati Bengals made tender offers to linebacker Dan Skuta,
safety Jeromy Miles and long snapper Clark Harris as their contracts
As Miles is a third-year player, the Bengals retained his exclusive
rights for next season.
Fourth-year players Harris and Skuta are restricted free agents. They can
negotiate with other teams, but Cincinnati can match any signed offer.
The pair of players can either accept the Bengals' one-year tender or
negotiate for a longer term deal if no other club signs them.
"All three of these guys made real contributions to our reaching the
playoffs last season," head coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement
released by the team. "We are glad to have Jeromy back in the fold, and
it's certainly in our plans to have Clark and Dan back as well."
Guarded Behavior In Carolina
--The Carolina Panthers welcomed back one offensive guard Tuesday while
bidding goodbye to another.
Right guard Geoff Hangartner, who was due to become a free agent,
instead re-signed. Meanwhile, the team released left guard Travelle Wharton.
Hangartner received a three-year deal, ESPN's John Clayton reported.
According to ESPN, Wharton's cap figure was higher than $7 million.
Jaguars Sign A Specialist
--The Jacksonville Jaguars released wide receiver Kassim Osgood and
signed punter Nick Harris, the team announced Tuesday.
Harris was scheduled to become free agent Tuesday afternoon if he was
not signed. Terms of his deal were not disclosed. Harris has played 11
NFL seasons, and he played the final 11 games of the 2011 season with
Jacksonville, averaging 42.7 yards a boot.
Osgood joined the Jaguars as free agent in 2010 and started four games
for the Jaguars over the past two seasons. In 2011, the 31-year-old
Osgood started one game and had five receptions for 42 yards.
Moss Ready For His Return
--Coming off a retirement that lasted one year and followed the least
productive season of his career, Randy Moss said he's "ready to bring
the fans out of their seats."
Speaking with reporters on a late conference call Monday night after
the whirlwind day in which he worked out for the San Francisco 49ers,
then signed a one-year deal, Moss said he was eager to show his passion
for football on the field again and dismissed questions of his ability
to fit in with the 49ers' team-first mentality by saying he'd gotten a
"bad rap" from the media.
The 35-year-old receiver explained his one-year absence from football,
when he reportedly did not draw a lot of interest after his subpar 2010
season, by saying he "had personal reasons outside of football to step
away from the game.
"I think it was a family decision to get back in the game, because I
still love the game and still think I can play at a high level, and I'm
passionate about the game of football."
New Faces In New York
--The New York Giants completed their coaching staff by filling a
couple of openings, adding Matt Rhule from Temple, and Lunda Wells from
LSU, the team announced Tuesday.
Rhule will be the team's assistant offensive line coach, replacing Jack Bicknell Jr., who became the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line coach
after the Giants won the Super Bowl.
Wells was named an offensive assistant coach, replacing Kevin Gilbride,
who was promoted from that role to wide receivers coach.
Gilbride moved up after Sean Ryan shifted from receivers coach to
quarterbacks coach, after Mike Sullivan joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
as their offensive coordinator.
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