Who says the meat of free agency is dying down? The NFL rolls on year-round and we've got updates on the recent signings, releases, trades, surgeries and more.
DE Jevon Kearse, who starred for Tennessee for five seasons before jumping to Philadelphia as a free agent, returned to the Titans on March 6 with a multi-year deal.
Kearse met with the Titans and was checked out by team doctors on Wednesday. Minnesota was trying to get him in for a visit, but the Titans were able to secure a deal before Kearse could leave town.
Kearse will wear No. 90, the same as during his first stint with the franchise. The No. 93 he wore in Philadelphia is currently worn by DE Kyle Vanden Bosch.
"They came up with No. 90. They said it was an old number that was just sitting around," Kearse said. "It's going to be 90. It's good. It feels good on me. It feels different than 93 I think," Kearse said.
Vikings WR Bobby Wade has been rehabbing his left knee after undergoing arthroscopic surgery. Wade injured the knee in October and played the rest of the season despite being hobbled.
OLB/DE Travis LaBoy is looking forward to playing from a two-point stance, even though he rarely did it in four seasons in Tennessee. "That's right up my alley," LaBoy said.
S Greg Wesley had hoped to be out of Kansas City by now, but the Chiefs keep trying to trade their still-productive but unhappy safety. Trouble is, everyone figures the Chiefs will cut Wesley eventually, so they're not inclined to give up anything in trade.
Wesley, a starter for seven of his eight previous seasons in Kansas City, thought he might be traded a year ago when the Chiefs gave his starting strong safety spot to second-year man Bernard Pollard. Kansas City seemed close to a deal with Denver, but didn't pull the trigger out of reluctance to see Wesley playing for a division rival. That speaks well of Wesley's ability. The soon-to-be 30 safety, despite battling injuries last year, was more consistent at the position than the much-to-young Pollard. But Herm Edwards is committed to his young safety, and Wesley knows he does not fit in the team's plans.
Securing a trade, however, has proven maddening, and now Wesley just wants to be released. "They've had more than a year to trade me," Wesley told the Kansas City Star. "They could have traded me last year. They chose not to. I was good about it, didn't cause distractions or problems during the season. Now that's over. "It's a business, and I understand that maybe they were doing what they needed to do. But just let me go now. They're holding me here, and teams need safeties. Let me find another team. Are they going to hold me until there are no more jobs? I could find a pretty good deal out there right
RB Mewelde Moore (5-11, 209) will count $1.1 million against the Steelers salary cap in 2008 after signing a three-year deal for $4.95 million. He's a good receiver, and an adequate blocker and runner and will get little competition to be their third-down back. He also will be their punt returner unless someone better comes along as part of their draft. "He has things that are potentially attractive to us," said coach Mike Tomlin, who coached the Vikings defense in 2006.
NT Trey Lewis re-tore his ACL this week while walking down some stairs. "It's tough for us, but it is also disappointing for Trey because he was making tremendous progress in his rehabilitation," Falcons coach Mike Smith said.
LB Takeo Spikes was released by the Eagles after finishing second on the team with 139 tackles last season. "Takeo did a really good job for us last year," said Eagles head coach Andy Reid. "But we are excited about the young linebackers that have developed over the last year. We wish Takeo all the best. He's a true team player on and off the field."
OL Maurice Williams re-signed with the Jaguars for four years and $16 million, including $4 million in guaranteed money, according to ESPN.com. Williams is expected to compete with Dennis Norman and Uche Nwaneri for a starting guard spot.
LB Brendon Ayanbadejo agreed to a deal with the Ravens, who won his services over the Jets with a four-year contract worth $4.9 million, including a $1.9 million signing bonus, according to the team. Ayanbadejo is considered one of the league's top special teams players.
QB Philip Rivers has many months of rehabilitation in front of him, but he's determined to be not be gimpy when training camp arrives.
"I would be totally shocked if I'm not ready for training camp," said Rivers, who is spending part of his offseason with his parents in Alabama. "Obviously I will be wearing a brace on that knee all year long. Other than the brace, if you come to watch practice the first day of training camp, this is my opinion: I'd be shocked if you could say. "Aw, he looks a little off, he looks a little different.'
"So I expect to be rolling at training camp."
WR Larry Fitzgerald continues to say that he loves being a Cardinal, loves his teammates and wants to help the organization win. But some fans are growing antsy because he has yet to agree to a contract restructuring that would allow the club to pursue other free agent. At least that's what team officials say.
LB Boss Bailey, the younger brother of Champ Bailey, signed with the Broncos. His agent, Jack Reele, told the Associated Press that the five-year deal is worth $17.5 million with $8 million in guaranteed money over the first two seasons. If Bailey reaches escalators, the deal could be worth as much as $20.5 million.
OG Adam Goldberg re-signed with the Rams. He finished last season on injured reserve with a knee injury that limited him to just four games.
TE Anthony Becht signed with St. Louis. The nine-year veteran spent the past three seasons in Tampa Bay, and has 133 career catches over nine seasons.
FB Tony Richardson signed with the Jets. The 13-year veteran made his third Pro Bowl last season and could provide a key lead blocker for Thomas Jones.
TE Ben Troupe signed a two-year deal with Tampa Bay. He had just five catches with two starts last season, but fills the void that was created when Anthony Becht signed with St. Louis.
DT Johnny Jolly will be in recovery mode throughout the offseason after undergoing surgery late last year for a torn rotator cuff that ended his 2007 season in November. Head coach Mike McCarthy indicated that Jolly, who started alongside nose tackle Ryan Pickett for most of the season, is questionable to be ready for the start of training camp in late July.
WR Charles Sharon was waived by the Jaguars. Sharon spent the past two seasons with the Jaguars after signing as an undrafted rookie free agent on April 30, 2006.
Sharon spent the entire 2007 season on the practice squad and was signed to the active roster on Jan. 11 and was inactive for the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at New England on Jan. 12. Sharon, a native of Palatka, spent the first 10 weeks on the practice squad in 2006 before being moved to the 53-man roster for the final six games.
LS Thomas Gafford (released by Seahawks 6/20) signed with Green Bay.
P Sean Douglas (released by Buccaneers 8/29) signed with Tampa Bay.
DT Rien Long, who won the Outland Trophy at Washington State, nearly died twice as the result of injuries suffered in a one-car crash on Jan. 21. He sustained a punctured lung, eight broken ribs, a "filleted" pelvis, a severed urethra, a fractured C-6 vertebra and a concussion.
"I was a mess in the hospital," he said of the first days of his stay at Vanderbilt Medical Center. "They had me in restraints cause I was freaking out apparently. I ripped out one of my chest tubes. I was all out of it. Have you seen the movie Cloverfield yet? It felt like that.
"I felt like the top was ripped off of the hospital, there was a war going on. I don't know, I was really delirious."
Long said Jeff Fisher was at his bedside the first few days and lent his mother a truck.
RB Montell Owens, an exclusive rights free agent, re-signed with Jacksonville.
C/G Rudy Niswanger, an exclusive rights free agent, re-signed with Kansas City.
CB Lewis Sanders (released by Falcons 2/19) signed with New England.
OT Cornell Green, an unrestricted free agent, re-signed with Oakland.
CB Sammy Davis, an unrestricted free agent, re-signed with Tampa Bay.
WR Joe Jurevicius started 16 games last year. One reason the Browns pursued and signed Donte Stallworth is Jurevicius told the coaches the playing time wore him down physically. Jurevicius will be the third receiver in 2008. Under this setup he might be able to play in 2009. His current plan is to retire after this season.
S Nick Sorensen re-signed with the Browns before the first week of free agency ended. He played in nine games last season and made 14 special teams tackles.
CB Drayton Florence was ready to make a move and the opportunity to return within 100 miles of his hometown of Ocala was too good to pass up when the Jaguars came courting the 27-year-old free-agent cornerback who played his first five NFL seasons with San Diego. Florence had been a starter for the Chargers up to last year when Antonio Cromartie came in took away his starting role. Florence called it more of a business decision that the Chargers made rather than him flat out losing his job. "They (Chargers) knew I was coming up on my last year and (Cromartie) really didn't have much experience," he said. "So to do what was better for the team, they started him after the 10th game of the season. They put me into the nickel situation and like a pro, you've just got to play your role. That's what I did. Things worked out for me in the end." Now Florence will look to make a strong enough impression on the coaches to move into a starting role at cornerback which would likely push regular Brian Williams into a safety spot.
LB Ian Gold was cut the same day as receiver Javon Walker. Gold had two stints with the Broncos. He missed a lot of tackles last season and his large salary and impending bonuses were considered too hefty for the team.
QB Eli Manning, on the return home for a welcome from the fans in Giants Stadium after the parade in downtown Manhattan, looked around and smiled at the "other hero of the Super Bowl," WR David Tyree, and said: "It's nice to hear cheering in this stadium for a change, you know?"
DT Shaun Rogers' agent vehemently denied his client chose Cleveland over Cincinnati. Booth Newspapers reported Rogers helped nullify a trade to Cincinnati and engineer a deal to Cleveland, because he wasn't willing to move back a $1 million roster bonus for the Bengals and then agreed do it for the Browns. But Rogers' agent, Kennard McGuire, said Rogers was never asked to move back the bonus for any particular suitor. He said Rogers agreed to move back the bonus so the Lions could have more time to work out a trade. "There was no preferential treatment here," McGuire said. "We felt all along that a change of scenery would be best for the Lions and Shaun Rogers. Had we not moved back the bonus, Shaun would still be property of the Detroit Lions."
TE Michael Gaines signed a four-year deal worth $10 million with $3 million guaranteed. He is known for his blocking, but he considers himself an old-school tight end who can catch the ball, too. "I have an opportunity to be the guy here," Gaines said.
"This gives me an great opportunity to put my mark on the game." The Lions already have a starting tight end, Dan Campbell. But Campbell is recovering from a serious elbow injury. "We'll gel," Gaines said. "When he gets here, we'll party."
WR Marty Booker returned to the place of his glory years when he re-signed with the Chicago Bears for $3.5 million over two years. "I still have plenty of good years left," said Booker, who turns 32 in July. "I've been saved (in Miami) for four years." Booker was referring to Miami's non-use of the deep ball.
LB Terrell Suggs has filed a grievance against the Ravens, trying to get $814,00 more next season as the team's franchise player. Suggs is arguing that he should be designated as a defensive end instead of a linebacker. The Ravens used the franchise tag on Suggs on Feb. 19, keeping him off the free-agent market with a one-year tender worth $8.065 million (the average of the five highest-paid linebackers in the NFL). But Suggs wants the one-year tag of $8.879 million for defensive ends -- which is $814,000 more than what linebackers receive.
RB Warrick Dunn met with the Bucs in Tampa hours after being released by the Falcons. Dunn, 33, began his career as a first-round pick of the Bucs in 1997. He would be a change-of-pace back to team with Earnest Graham. "It was just good talking to him," Allen said. "Obviously, he's a fine young man. He's still got some football in him. His performance this past year, we discussed it in detail and what occurred in Atlanta the last two years. He gave us some stories. We're going to Keep watching it from Tampa and we do not know his timetable."
C Jeremy Newberry remains in contract negotiations with the Raiders. Newberry, who made 14 starts last season after missing much of the previous three seasons with knee problems which required microfracture surgery. Newberry signed for $1 million with no signing bonus, but banked more than $3 million after playing time incentives were counted. A potential sticking point -- Newberry may want a salary more in line with what he earned last season, with the Raiders preferring another incentive-laden deal.
RB Julius Jones has made free agent visits to Detroit, Tennessee and Seattle. He is an unrestricted free agent and not being courted to return to Dallas. Jones was a second-round draft choice in 2004 and rushed for 1,084 yards in 2006. But he had 588 yards last season, as Cowboys used Marion Barber is their primary back.
CB Asante Samuel doesn't think he'll have a hard time getting acclimated to Jim Johnson's defensive scheme, even though it requires the corners to play a lot more press and man-to-man coverage than he played with the Patriots. "What I know the most is that it's an aggressive defense and they like to get after the quarterback," he said. "(Last year), our offense played against them and they gave us some trouble. They were pressuring and getting after the quarterback and playing an aggressive style of defense. I think I'll fit right in."
QB Jason Campbell was never concerned that he wasn't the starter, not after watching Collins lead the Redskins to the playoffs and not after coach Joe Gibbs retired and associate head coach Al Saunders, who ran the offense the past two years, was fired.
"Deep down inside I know I'm the starter," Campbell said. "This is my team. I just want to focus on the things I need to do to become one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and lead my team to the playoffs and try and bring home a championship."
Those goals are more foreseeable now that Campbell has recovered from the dislocated left kneecap that sidelined him for Washington's four-game run to postseason as well as the playoff loss at Seattle. Now the 26-year-old has to re-learn the West Coast offense he ran so well as a senior at Auburn in 2004.
"It's difficult to go through change a lot, but at the same time, it can be a positive," Campbell said. "I like the offense. That was one of my best years. I completed 70 percent of my passes. It's a quick-strike offense, an offense you can spread the ball out. Santana (Moss) and Randle El, the quicker they get the ball in their hands the better opportunity they have to make yards. You don't have to go for the home run hitters all the time."