The flurry of free agent signings has already taken place with big money spent early. The Patriots, Broncos and 49ers have led the charge so far, but other teams remain active looking for the right players at the right price. Here is a list of recent news on players around the league including news of a former Patriot who almost returned.
DT Ross Kolodziej, who played for the Cardinals in 2004 and 2005 before moving on to Minnesota last season, was re-signed by Arizona for one year. He played in 11 games for the Vikings, making eight tackles for the top-ranked rushing defense in the NFL. The seventh-year pro appeared in 29 games with 18 starts during his two seasons in Arizona. During his time with the Cardinals, Kolodziej made 44 tackles, four sacks, forced two fumbles and made two fumble recoveries. In 2005, Kolodziej started a career-high 14 games. He was the New York Giants seventh-round pick in 2001.
TE Jim Kleinsasser restructured his contract, according to documents from the NFL Players Association. Kleinsasser took a $1 million reduction in his base salary for 2007, dropping from $2.9 million to $1.9 million. His salary in 2008 went from $2.9 million to $2.4 million. The Vikings have signed tight end Visanthe Shiancoe to be their top tight end.
T Mike Rosenthal signed a one-year deal to join the Dolphins. Financial terms were undisclosed.
LB Al Wilson was released by the Broncos on Friday. He had been the Broncos' middle linebacker since 1999 and a defensive captain since 2001. He made the Pro Bowl last season, his fifth. But a few things went into the Broncos decision. They spent a lot of money retooling their team this offseason, and Wilson had a $5.2 million base salary. Wilson will turn 30 this year, and he is coming off a neck injury. Wilson said he understood the Broncos' move was just part of the business. "I've had a great time here," Wilson said. "Like any Fortune 500 company, any major corporation, sometimes you have to let good employees go."
LB Takeo Spikes will be one of the Eagles' starting linebackers next season. But coach Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson still aren't sure which of the three spots he'll play. Spikes has been a weak-side linebacker most of his career, but played primarily on the strong side last year after recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, and also has played inside. He said he doesn't care where he plays. "We talked about it, but it could be any position," Spikes said. "I'm going to make the plays wherever they put me. That's the way I truly feel."
RB Edgerrin James might not participate fully in this weekend's mini camp after undergoing minor knee surgery. There had been swelling periodically late last season. James has been at home in Florida during the off-season but has given coach Ken Whisenhunt regular updates on his rehab and training. The voluntary camp runs Friday through Sunday (April 13-15).
S Hanik Milligan and FB A.J. Schable will not participate in the mini camp after undergoing knee surgeries. Schable, who alternated between DE and FB will stay at FB.
FB A.J. Schable and S Hanik Milligan will not participate in the mini camp after undergoing knee surgeries. Schable, who alternated between DE and FB will stay at FB.
DE Bertrand Berry will be held out of camp. He is coming off a torn triceps that caused him to miss the final six games. He also missed time at the end of 2005. His last full season, though, was a Pro Bowl run in 2004.
LG Milford Brown, the starter at the end of last season but who initially will be replaced by Reggie Wells, will not be at mini camp. Brown is getting married.
LB Peter Sirmon, who won't be back with Tennessee, rejected a one-year contract from the Arizona Cardinals and is considering retirement. "There's a chance," Sirmon said. "I have given that a lot of thought. There are some opportunities that have already presented themselves outside of football and I am excited about my second career, whatever it might be." Sirmon was the team's starting middle linebacker last season, but the Titans signed restricted free agent Ryan Fowler of Dallas who is expected to start there in 2007 with second-year man Stephen Tulloch behind him.
Raiders G Cooper Carlisle, signed to a two-year contract averaging $2.2 million per season, will be given every opportunity to start at right guard. Carlisle, Oakland's lightest lineman at 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, started for the last two seasons in Denver. The Raiders brought in line coach Tom Cable to switch Oakland's blocking scheme from man-to-man to zone with cut blocking. Rookie Kevin Boothe started 14 games at right guard for the Raiders last season.
RB Michael Turner, despite drawing considerable interest from the Bills and Titans, remains a Charger. The restricted free agent is tendered at $2.35 million and a team would have to relinquish a first- and third-round pick to secure him. More likely, the Chargers will engineer a trade, with Turner signing a long-term pact with his new squad.
Chargers DT Jamal Williams could be ready for the team's minicamp next month after offseason surgeries on his knee and shoulder. The same can't be said for LB Shawne Merriman, who had shoulder surgery. "Jamal is further along and more ready," coach Norv Turner said. "With Shawne, in a couple weeks we'll have a better feel. It's certainly not something where we would force it if there's any doubt."
Falcons TE Alge Crumpler had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee April 7 to clear out debris and to repair minor damage caused by wear and tear. Crumpler was troubled by the knee for the past two seasons and was held out of practice at least once weekly to ease the stress on the joint. He did not miss any game time. Crumpler, who played in the Pro Bowl in February and went on a 12-day, USO tour with three other NFL players before having the operation, is expected to miss most of the team's offseason workouts but he should be ready for training camp.
NT Grady Jackson continued his boycott of the Falcons by skipping the mini-camp. It was considered voluntary so he can't be fined for staying away. Jackson is suing the Falcons for allegedly releasing medical information to media outlets last summer, which he claims devalued him on the open market. Jackson ended up signing a three-year, $4 million contract with incentives with the Falcons.
Falcons LB Keith Brooking, who has spent most of his career starring at outside linebacker but much of the past two seasons in the middle because of injuries, appears to be moving inside permanently. Brooking opened mini-camp ahead of third-year MLB Jordan Beck and, unless the Atlanta drafts a player it feels will start inside, will keep Brooking there. "Once we put him there, that is where we want him to stay," coach Bobby Petrino said. "I think that is what we want to do this whole season so he can play one position and really focus in on that." Brooking replaces Ed Hartwell, who was released after two injury-marred seasons with Atlanta.
DT Kindal Moorehead re-signed with the Panthers with a one-year contract, according to league sources. After failing to generate much interest in the free agent market, Moorehead agreed to a one-year contract that will pay him slightly more than the $721,000 he made last season with the Panthers, according to a league source.
OT Luke Petitgout, a former Giants lineman acquired last month in free agency, has worked exclusively at left tackle during voluntary workouts this week, and right now it appears there is little chance he will play anywhere else.
Bucs DE Simeon Rice is not back in action yet after having shoulder surgery late last season. Coach Jon Gruden said the team hopes to have him on the field for the next set of voluntary workouts next month. Also, guard Dan Buenning isn't expected to be completely healthy until training camp after tearing knee ligaments against Dallas on Thanksgiving.
49ers C Eric Heitmann, who broke his right tibia in a Dec. 14 game at Seattle, has started jogging and lifting weights. He hopes to take part in the 49ers' full-squad minicamp the week after the draft, though it's likely the team will hold him out of the drills.
San Fran LB Derek Smith had surgery in February to repair a muscle strain in his left eye. After originally stating that Smith would be held out of drills until training camp, the team says he might be able to participate in next month's minicamp.
49ers DL Ronald Fields has recovered from a broken arm he sustained in practice late in the season.
Ravens S Gerome Sapp, a backup safety and a valuable member of the Ravens' special teams, re-signed with the Ravens. Terms were not disclosed.
The Ravens have two young starting safeties in Ed Reed and Dawan Landry, but they were concerned about their depth at that position.
QB Jim Sorgi has signed his one-year, $850,000 restricted free agent contract with the Colts. Sorgi, a restricted free agent, is the primary backup to starter Peyton Manning.
New Orleans WR David Patten agreed to a one-year deal with the Saints on Thursday. Patten, 32, is trying to rebound from a disappointing two-year stint with the Redskins, while the Saints are hoping he can return to the form he showed during his four seasons with the New England Patriots. The Saints wanted to add an experienced wideout to the mix after four-time Pro Bowl pick Joe Horn was released in early March. Horn's departure left the Saints with a promising young receiving corps that includes Marques Colston, Terrance Copper and Devery Henderson. Patten caught 22 passes in nine games in 2005 before knee surgery ended his season. In 2006, he caught one pass for 25 yards. But prior to that, during a four-year stint with New England, he snagged 165 passes for 2,513 yards and 16 touchdowns in helping the team to three Super Bowl titles.
Saints RB Deuce McAllister, who missed the final 11 games of 2005 with a torn right ACL but returned to have a big year in 2006, underwent arthroscopic surgery in early February to clean out some scar tissue and repair a partially torn meniscus in the knee. McAllister said the surgery is common for players recovering from ACL injuries. He expects to be ready for on-field coaching sessions in May and the team's veteran minicamp in early June.
S Travares Tillman re-signed with the Dolphins. Tillman signed a one-year, $720,000 deal.
Rams TE Dominique Byrd, arrested in Los Angeles on charges of driving under the influence and being an unlicensed driver, entered a not guilty plea March 28. Next is a pretrial hearing set for April 26.
Bengals DE Frostee Rucker, the team's third-round pick from 2006, said he has been cleared 100 percent from the shoulder injury that forced him onto the injured reserve list for all of his rookie season. Rucker also said he has been working on every position on the defensive line and is prepared to contribute however he is asked.
Bengals CB Johnathan Joseph said he is preparing himself to start this season. He also said he and defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle counted at least 10 interceptions Joseph dropped as a rookie. "I wasn't looking the ball in," Joseph said.