NFC North Hot News on divisional opponents from BearReport.com, LionsFans.com and PackerReport.com:
Stewart signs two-year deal
Former Pittsburgh QB Kordell Stewart signed a two-year, $5 million contract to become the Bears' new starting signal-caller.
Counting on Brown
Despite the fact Alex Brown had just 2.5 sacks in nine starts as a rookie, the Bears have enough confidence in him to believe he'll be a double-digit sack producer next season. Brown has a history of being able to get to the quarterback. He holds the Florida record for sacks with 33.
Kicker Paul Edinger is staying with the Bears after the team matched Minnesota's offer sheet of five years and $7 million.
Colvin signs with Pats
Prized free agent LB Rosevelt Colvin has signed with New England. The terms of the contract have not yet been released.
Knight better be ready
Bryan Knight has been given the responsibility of filling Rosevelt Colvin's shoes. Unless the Bears sign a veteran in free agency, Knight will assume the starting role at strong-side linebacker.
Close to signing
When the Bears released Jim Miller nearly two weeks ago his future in the league looked uncertain. However, Miller visited with the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs Thursday, and if they feel he'll be ready by training camp he'll likely be signed to a one-year deal worth the minimum.
The Bucs lost their backup to Brad Johnson when Rob Johnson signed with the Washington Redskins, while negotiations with Shaun King aren't going well.
Defensive tackle signs one-year deal
The Detroit Lions have announced they have re-signed defensive tackle Kelvin Pritchett to a one-year deal. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Pritchett, 6-3, 319, will be entering his 13th NFL season, and his eighth with Detroit. Pritchett hasn't recorded a sack in two seasons but has served as a valuable backup to defensive tackles Shaun Rogers and Luther Elliss.
Brown re-signs to veteran minimum
Offensive guard Ray Brown agreed to a new deal earlier in the week, inking a one-year, $780,000 contract that included a $25,000 signing bonus.
Singleton gets away
The Dallas Cowboys have reached a four-year deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers' linebacker Alshermond Singleton. Singleton, along with Green Bay's Nate Wayne, had become priorities with Detroit after Rosevelt Colvin signed with New England earlier in the week.
Singleton had reportedly narrowed his choices down to Dallas, Detroit and Tampa Bay, and last visited with the Cowboys.
Singleton is an exciting outside linebacker prospect that would have blended in nicely with the Lions' defensive scheme.
Signs with Arizona Cardinals
Linebacker James Darling, who had gotten interest from the Browns, Lions, and others, signed a four-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday. Darling will compete at all three starting linebacker spots. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Holmes may talk to Lions
According to published reports, the Detroit Lions are interested in talking with Earl Holmes. Holmes was released by Cleveland on Feb. 27 in order to get under the salary cap.
Wayne may sign quickly with Eagles
According to published reports, the recently released linebacker may sign quickly with the Eagles. He needs to pass a physical later today. If Wayne does not sign with the Eagles, he is expected to visit Detroit next.
Safety Bracy Walker has been re-signed by the Lions, although terms of the deal were not immediately known.
Clemons visits Detroit
New Orleans Saints' unrestricted free-agent Charlie Clemons visited the Lions on Monday, becoming the third linebacker to visit the Motor City in just two weeks. Unlike Al Singleton and Rosey Colvin, however, Clemons is a middle linebacker, the position currently held by free-agent linebacker Chris Claiborne.
Clemons tallied 112 tackles in 14 starts for New Orleans last season, a drop-off in his 2001 production of 123 tackles and 13.5 sacks. Clemons took the option to void the final year of his contract with New Orleans, who reportedly has shown no interest to sign him.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
LB signs offer sheet with Packers
LB Armegis Spearman has signed an offer sheet with Green Bay, reported to be for two years and approximately $1.7 million. The Bengals have a week to match the offer.
Holliday gets contract offer from Cardinals
Defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday has reportedly received a contract offer from the Arizona Cardinals. Holliday also has drawn interest from the Seattle Seahawks, but the Seahawks are trying to sign free agent Hugh Douglas. If Douglas signs elsewhere, the Seahawks probably will make a contract offer to Holliday.
McBride meets with Cowboys
Free agent cornerback Tod McBride visited the Cowboys on Wednesday. Dallas is interested in McBride as a third cornerback in its schemes that use five and six defensive backs. The Vikings are also interested in McBride.
Williams visits Browns
According to a story published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, free agent CB Tyrone Williams has Cleveland on the list of teams he is interested in. The Browns are reportedly only $1.5 million under the salary cap and may have a hard time creating an acceptable package for Williams. The team has, however, been entertaining free agents with an eye to signing bargains later or opening up more cap space through restructuring. The Vikings have Williams high on their list of CB possibilities as well.
Luchey inks deal
The Packers today announced the signing of former Cincinnati Bengal Nick Luchey to a multi-year contract as an unrestricted free agent. Luchey is expected to succeed William Henderson. The Packers did not have a bonafide backup to Henderson last year after rookie Najeh Davenport suffered a season-ending eye injury in mid-November.
Team declines to match Bowen offer
Reserve safety Matt Bowen is headed to Washington after Green Bay declined to match the offer tendered by the Redskins. The Packers will receive compensation equal to a sixth-round pick.
Sharper restructures bonus
Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper reportedly agreed to change a roster bonus that is due in a few days to a signing bonus, giving the Green Bay Packers an extra $900,000 of cap space. His roster bonus of $1.2 million, due in a few days, was guaranteed so it can be treated as a cap-friendly signing bonus and spread out over the remaining four years of his contract.
Wayne may go to arbitration for bonus
Linebacker Nate Wayne and the Green Bay Packers may go to arbitration over a $750,000 roster bonus if Wayne files a grievance with the NFL Players Association. The Packers released Wayne on Monday in order to avoid paying him the bonus and saving money under the salary cap.
But Wayne contends that the bonus was payable to him within 10 days after Feb. 28, according to league rules. Wayne says he was released beyond the 10-day limit.
Will Jags enter Wayne's World?
The Jaguars are looking hard in the free agency market to the upgrade their linebacker situations. Last weekend Jacksonville entertained Rosevelt Colvin and Mike Peterson. There's another big- time linebacker that just hit the market. Will the Jags pursue?
According to a league source, the Jaguars are one of three teams which have already expressed an interest in ex-Packers linebacker Nate Wayne. We've been told that the Jaguars are the process of contacting his agent, Harold Lewis.
The 6-foot-0 and 237 pound four-year pro out of Mississippi was cut by the Packers today after failing to reach an agreement on restructuring his contract.
Wayne was the Packers' starting weak-side linebacker in 2002 and led the tackles with 132. He also contributed 2.5 sacks and three interceptions in his fourth season.
Wayne's salary cap number of $2.8 million ranks fifth among the team's six defensive starters under contract for next season.
The Browns and Eagles are also interested in his services.
Waiting on Douglas?
Unrestricted free agent DE Vonnie Holliday is waiting to see if he will receive contract offers from the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks before he begins visiting other teams, his agent Brian Levy said. The Seahawks as well as the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles have been pursuing unrestricted free agent defensive end Hugh Douglas.
Eagles eye linebacker
The Philadelphia Eagles may try to sign outside linebacker Na'il Diggs, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Diggs is a restricted free agent but received a minimum tender offer from the Packers.
The Packers have the right to match any offer Diggs signs or get a fourth-round draft pick as compensation.
Philadelphia may pursue defensive end
Depending on how negotiations go with Hugh Douglas, the Philadelphia Eagles may make a push to sign Packers restricted free agent Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Douglas is an unrestricted free agent but is drawing interest from several NFL teams. The Eagles want to re-sign Douglas, but if he signs with another team, they may pursue Gbaja-Biamila, who has had 25.5 sacks in the last two seasons.
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