Free Agency: The Wire

The Free Agency Wire is a service for our Premium Members to provide you with some exclusive information from our network of sources. We'll also scan the web for breaking news and stories so you don't have to waste your time looking for it. We'll update our wire throughout the day, so check back often!

Updated 11:15 PM

Patriots TE Christian Fauria is now a Washington Redskin. The former New England Patriot joined Antwaan Randel El as the Redskins most recent free agent splashes.

The Steelers agreed to a three-year deal with free agent linebacker Clint Kriewaldt, the team’s special teams co-captain. Terms of the deal were not available, but Kriewaldt turned down an offer from the New York Giants to re-sign with the Steelers.

Scout.com has learned that The San Francisco 49ers have agreed in principle to a deal with former Cleveland Brown WR Antonio Bryant. Bryant who led the Brown sin receiving last season, earned himself an invitation out of town with both his contract demands and off the field concerns. Cleveland still has Braylon Edwards and Denis Northcutt to catch passes, as well as the expected return of Kellen Winslow II.


Updated 8:31 PM

Rumors in Cleveland have the Browns ready to sign yet another free agent in the first weekend. Reportedly the Browns are looking at Detroit defensive end Kalimba Edwards. Reports on local TV indicate that the Browns and Kalimba are close. Scout.com has confirmed that the Browns had been working on trying to arrange a visit with Edwards as of Saturday.


Updated 7:55 PM

In a war of he said - he said, Patriots receiver David Givens' agent Brad Blank told the Boston Globe that reports of his client's decision to return to the Patriots were erroneous. Blank stated that while anything's still possible, his client was set to meet with the Texans on Sunday.

In an evening report in the Houston Chronicle, the paper states that Blank told the Texans that the earlier report was erroneous, and that his client was indeed interested in talking to Houston about joining the team. The Chronicle report cast yet more confusion into the entire Given's situation which started off poorly when a report surfaced on the Cleveland Browns website indicating the Browns had signed Givens. Blanks answer to that was the website could have been hacked.

The entire situation appears wildly out of control at worst, and exceedingly confusing in the least. The Chronicle also reports that Given's contract demands fall into the range of $25 million over five years. The price tag appeared to be too steep for the Texans. Givens next destination is Tennessee.

Contract details on the Redskins deal with Antwaan Randel El appear to for a seven-year contract worth $31 million that includes $11.5 million in bonuses. He reportedly turned down a six-year, $18 million offer from Chicago before deciding to go to work for the Redskins.

According to a report in Warpath Illustrated, LaVar Arrington is close to a deal with the New York Giants. Arrington has already stated that he is interested in playing in the NFC East, and the Giants are thought to be leading candidates. A report on Giants Insider confirms the team is thinking about adding the LB and has a visit planned with the team.


Updated 6:20 PM

According to reports coming out of Washington, including a report in the Washington Post, Patriots free agent TE Christian Fauria is close to signing with the Redskins. Having lost Robert Royal to the Buffalo Bills, Washington is in need of another TE, and Fauria could fit the mold.

The Post is also reporting that Steelers WR Antwaan Randel El has agreed to join the Redskins.

The Titans offered restricted free agent S Donnie Nickey a one-year tender. The Titans would receive a fifth-round draft choice as compensation if he signs elsewhere for the 2006 season.

Geoff Hobson, of Bengals.com, reports the Texans might have signed restricted free agent WR Kevin Walter (Bengals) to an offer sheet. The Bengals might not match the offer since it is expected to average $1.5 million a season with $2.5 million up front. If the team does not match the offer and Walter signs with the Texans, the Bengals would receive a seventh-round draft choice as compensation.


Updated: 5:25 PM

The Baltimore Ravens have re-signed LB Bart Scott. "Bart is just thrilled to come back home," said Harold Lewis, Scott's agent. "Bart was true to his word that his top choice was the Ravens and he left some money on the table to come back to Baltimore. Bart is a loyal guy and he really likes the Ravens' owner [Steve Bisciotti]." Scott agreed to a three-year contract with Baltimore that's worth $13.5 million, including a $6.5 million signing bonus. The Patriots were among the other clubs following Scott in free agency.

FOXSports.com has learned that the Vikings have signed Seahawks Pro Bowl offensive guard Steve Hutchinson to an offer sheet for a whopping $49 million over seven years. The deal also includes $16 million in guaranteed money, huge money for a guard, and a very high cap number in the first year. The reason for the cap number is to prevent the Seahawks from matching the offer.

Seattle tagged Hutchinson with the "transition" tag and thus have the right to match any offer. At the time they transitioned him instead of franchising him, the Seahawks probably believed they could match any offer. They still may decide to match the deal, which would give them the most expensive side to an offensive line in league history. Hutchinson teamed with Walter Jones to make up the best blocking side in football as well.

In recent days, many of Hutchinson's teammates have known there would be a strong possibility that he would be leaving for Minnesota via free agency. He flew to Minneapolis late Saturday and agreed to terms Sunday afternoon.

Seattle now must decide to match the offer or let him go.

Scout.com has learned that Carolina Panthers UFA OLB Will Witherspoon reached a six-year contract agreement with the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Witherspoon considered one of the premiere linebackers available in free agency had been rumored to be on a number of teams radar.

RavensInsider reports that the Baltimore Ravens have reached a deal with former Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Justin Bannan, according to an NFL source. The length of the contract and terms weren't immediately available except for him receiving a $3 million signing bonus.

Bannan emerged as a starter last season when Sam Adams got into a disagreement with the Bills' coaching staff. Bannan played collegiately at the University of Colorado. He's viewed as a try-hard type with a good motor.

Bannan is 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds. In four NFL seasons, he has 78 career tackles and 2 1/2 sacks. He registered a career-high 40 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks last season.

The Chargers have signed free agent safety Marlon McCree to a five-year contract. He is a versatile defender who can play both strong and free safety. McCree signed a reported five-year, $16 million deal with San Diego.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that the Browns are considering trading center Jeff Faine. In light of the Bentley signing earlier, it's not a surprise that the team would like to find value for Faine if they can.

The Cincinnati Bengals are looking for a new safety to shore up their defense. The biggest name among the group was in town yesterday as Buffalo's Lawyer Milloy was the first player to pay a visit. The Bengals are also expecting visits from Baltimore's Will Demps and Tampa Bay's Dexter Jackson (today)


Updated 2:55 PM

scout.com has confirmed the Pittsburgh Steelers and C Chukky Okobi are close to agreeing on a contract extension. The deal could be announced over the next few days.

Also being reported by scout.com, the Kansas City Chiefs and G Will Shields have reached an agreement on a new four-year deal. The agreement is expected to be announced by the team within the next few days.


Updated 2:30 PM

According to reports of of Washington, former Penn State LB LaVar Arrington is meeting with the New York Giants this weekend. Arrington has said he would like to remain in the NFC East. He has reportedly already meet with the Miami Dolphins.

Cowboy's TE Dan Campbell is set to visit with the New York Jets this weekend. The Jets have been relatively quiet so far in the opening weekend of free agency. Campbell is expected to visit with the Saints as well. The Cowboys are reportedly looking to bring in Seattle's Ryan Hannam for a look. The Patriots are quietly considered another potential suitor for Campbell, but they have remained relatively quiet so far, and are unlikely to get into a bidding war for players at this point.

The Jets are also expected to have Steelers Kimo Von Oelhoffen in for a a visit to the Jets' complex today. Von Oelhoffen is well versed in the 3-4 scheme having spent the last six seasons in Pittsburgh.

One of the biggest names in free agency appears to have a new destination. Indianapolis Colts' Edgerrin James has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Arizona Cardinals. James, who was looking for a big deal, appeared unlikely to get one in Indy after the Colts decided to sign Reggie Wayne to an upgraded contract. James dined with a number of Cardinals players Saturday night. The team website has announced a 4-year deal with the former Colts back.


Updated 1:35 PM

UFA P Dave Zastudil (Ravens) agreed to a five-year deal with Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Zastudil apparently traveled to Cleveland on Saturday to complete negotiations in person. He replaces Cleveland's troubles with punters Derrek Frost and Kyle Richardson.

The Browns continue to be aggressive in free agency, signing NT Ted Washington formerly of the oakland Raiders. While Washington may be getting along in years, he can still provide Cleveland a solid presence in the middle to slow down the run, something they were unable to do in 2005. In addition to the Browns, Washington's agent Angelo Wright also told The OBR that the Ravens, Jets, Panthers and Dolphins had shown more than a little interest in his client. The deal is apparently for two years worth between $6.5 - 7 million.

Scout.com has confirmed Indianapolis Colts RB Edgerrin James is still in Arizona visiting with the Cardinals and his agent Drew Rosenhaus is visiting with the team this morning. The Cardinals would like to get a deal done with James before he leaves town. James spent time with CB David Macklin and WR Larry Fitzgerald on Saturday evening at a Phoenix Suns game.

Scout.com has also confirmed UFA QB Josh McCown will visit with the Lions Sunday. He arrived in Detroit last night. Houston, New Orleans, and Cincinnati also has shown interest in him but only to be a backup. As Scout.com reported at the NFL Combine last month, McCown is looking to challenge for a starting job which makes Detroit a strong possibility. Miami is also a target for McCown to visit.

UFA CB R.W. McQuarters has a visit set up with the Cardinals for Monday. If signed, he would compete for the nickel back position against CB Robert Tate. The team also has a visit setup with UFA CB Kenny Wright (Jaguars) who would also be a candidate for the nickel position.

UFA DT Russell Davis has a visit set up with Seattle on Monday. The team is looking for depth at the tackle position. Reports have also surfaced that the Seahawks are interested in talking to Ravens LB Bart Scott.


Updated 12:20 PM

According to Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe, the Houston Chronicle's earlier report today about WR David Givens canceling his trip to Houston is wrong and Givens will visit with the Texans as planned. The team's official website also reported on the possible re-signing of Givens.

Insider sources have told Patriots Insider that the return of Givens to New England at this point would be surprising considering the lack of talent available in the free agent market and the price Givens would likely command. With the Redskins trading for Brandon Lloyd, one of the potential free spenders has disappeared as a potential suitor. Givens is set to speak with the Texans today and will likely field other offers shortly.

The Jets have scheduled a visit with Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna. He's expected to spend two days with the Jets beginning Monday.

The Texans have released WR Allen Suber.

The Denver Broncos re-signed defensive end Gerard Warren, running back Ron Dayne and long snapper Mike Leach.

Kicker Joe Nedney re-signed with the 49ers for four more years.


Updated: 11:30 AM

Patriots Free agent LB Matt Chatham was in New York yesterday meeting with the Jets. Chatham's agent told the Providence Journal that Patriots linebacker would like to find a place where he can significantly improve his position on the depth chart. "We aren't looking to leave the Patriots," Chatham's agent Paul Sheehy told the Journal. "If what he's offered is not a substantial upgrade (in playing time), we would be hesitant to move."

Although Steelers WR/KR Antwaan Randle El was visiting Washington on Saturday, he already had an offer on the table from the Bears believed to be in the $20 million range over six years. Randle El plans to continue to shop around, but so will the Bears. They are rumored to be interested in Eddie Drummond (Lions), Tim Dwight (Patriots), Antonio Chatman (Packers), and Torrie Cox (Buccaneers). Randle El will not visit Chicago today as previously reported widely by the media.

The Redskins completed a trade that sent 2006 3rd-round and 2007 4th-round picks to San Francisco for WR Brandon Lloyd while Antwaan Randle-El was still in town visiting. While the Redskins are still interested, it's believed that the move may have decreased Randle-El's interest in Washington as he wants to land with a team where he will get the ball more.

The Chargers signed Panther safety Marlon McCree to a five-year pact. But they lost LB Ben Leber to the Vikings the same day. Leber landed a four-year deal estimated to be in the $20 million range.

San Diego had hoped to make a play for Saints center LeCharles Bentley, but the Browns signed him on Saturday.

Free agent defensive end Darren Howard is in Philadelphia visiting with Eagles front office personnel and coaches today. He will also undergo a physical this morning. He is scheduled to meet with the media at 3 pm at the NovaCare Complex.


Updated 9:25 AM

The Texans were expecting to meet with Patriots WR David Givens today, but his agent cancelled the trip. Speculation out of New England is that Givens has reached agreement on a new deal with the Patriots. They met with Bengals WR Kevin Walter on Saturday and also appear to be interested in the Patriots' WR Andre Davis who visited the Bills on Saturday.

Here's another quote from DT Larry Tripplett following his signing with the Buffalo Bills on Saturday as he talked about his level of experience despite not being a starter. "I played quite a bit because we rotated in a lot," Tripplett said. "Although I didn't start many games, there wasn't many games where I didn't have as many snaps as the people who did, and sometimes I had even more."

Titans left tackle Brad Hopkins is already making the rounds after being cut for cap reasons, but now it appears the Titans will lose another starter from their offensive line. C Justin Hartwig received an offer from the Carolina Panthers that Tennessee general manager Floyd Reese was hoping to have the opportunity to match. But early indications from Hartwig's agent -- Drew Rosenhaus, Edgerrin James' agent -- is that Hartwig is ready to sign with Carolina.

The Ravens reached an agreement on a five-year contract worth $25 million that includes $10 million in guaranteed money.with four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Trevor Pryce on Saturday. Pryce has been a starter in Denver for the past nine years. The Ravens needed to backfill a vacancy created earlier in the day when Anthony Weaver signed a five-year, $26.5 million contract that included a $12 million signing bonus to join the Texans.

The Texans also took care of their backup quarterback position on Saturday. They had released veteran quarterback Tony Banks in a cap move prior to the start of free agency, but then signed free agent QB Sage Rosenfels to a four-year, $6.4 million contract that included a $2 million signing bonus.

Houston signed Tampa Bay FB Jameel Cook signed a five-year, $5 million contract. Cook will compete with FB Moran Norris for the starting job at fullback.

While the Texans are very interested in signing Packers OL Mike Flanagan, he apparently left Houston without signing a contract on Saturday. They also took a look at OL Bob Hallen of the Chargers.


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