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Giants to host Shelley Smith
Posted by Josh Alper on March 12, 2014, 10:28 AM EDT
The Giants got the ball rolling in free agency by signing guard Geoff Schwartz on Tuesday, but they aren’t done looking for ways to upgrade an offensive line that was an abject failure last season.
Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that the team will have guard Shelley Smith in for a visit on Wednesday. They are also expected to visit with kick returner Jacoby Jones a day after signing running back Rashad Jennings to further help what owner John Mara called a “broken” offense.
Smith spent the last two years with the Rams, starting eight times while playing in 25 games. The 2010 sixth-round pick started his career with the Texans, but never saw any regular season action until he moved to St. Louis.
With Schwartz in the fold and Chris Snee taking a pay cut, Smith is likely ticketed for a depth role. That’s not insignificant given the fact that Snee is coming off of hip surgery and Smith could be an option to start in the future as Snee is close to the end of the line.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Dispatch reports that former Cardinals G Daryn Colledge is visiting with the Rams Wednesday night.
This news comes shortly after reported came out that Rodger Saffold is re-signing with the Rams after his contract with the Raiders fell through after a failed physical.
Colledge, 32, was a starter for the Cardinals last year and appeared in all 16 games. However, he’s been a part of the one of the worst offensive line units in recent years and is already in his thirties, so it’s hard to say that the Rams will be looking at him as a start for them moving forward.
Vince Wilfork wants out of New England
Posted by Darin Gantt on March 13, 2014
As big a deal as the Patriots made last night, they might be on the verge of having a bigger hole.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Wilfork has asked the team for his release, after 10 seasons.
The team approached him once about restructuring his contract, but that didn’t go far. He’s scheduled to make a base salary of $7.5 million this year, and count $11.6 million against the salary cap.
That is a number they don’t want to pay for a 31-year-old coming off an Achilles injury.
How they handle this one will be interesting, because they need that number off the books, but they’d also blow a huge hole (pun absolutely intended) in the middle of their defense by letting him go.
Buccaneers release Donald Penn
Posted by Josh Alper on March 13, 2014
After the Buccaneers announced they had signed tackle Anthony Collins, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Bucs might try to tradeincumbent left tackle Donald Penn.
Either the Bucs had other plans or the rest of the league gave them a unanimous and emphatic no because the team announced Thursday that Penn has been released. Penn was signed off the Vikings practice squad in 2006 and has started the last 108 games for Tampa.
Talk about moving on without Penn began before Collins was in the fold. Penn had a rough time as a pass protector last season and was set to make $6.75 million for a team that was clearly unhappy with their offensive line play. Guard Davin Josephhas also been released recently and the Bucs are heading in a new direction with Lovie Smith at the reins.
Penn still did a good job as a run blocker, though, and there’s not much left on the veteran left tackle market so he should be able to find a new home fairly soon. Oakland might be an option in the wake of their Rodger Saffold reversal.
Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie, Jared Allen among best free agents left
Posted by Mike Wilkening on March 14, 2014
So who’s left in free agency?
Here are the top unsigned/untagged unrestricted free agents in PFT’s free agent rankings, which were updated this afternoon with the addition of a noted advocate for a key component of the “RICE” method:
12. Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
18. Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.
23. Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.
26. Packers defensive end B.J. Raji.
29. Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher.
34. Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton.
35. Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman.
39. Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
40. Texans running back Ben Tate.
42. Ex-Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith
44. Bears defensive end Corey Wootton.
45. Packers wide receiver James Jones.
48. Broncos outside linebacker Shaun Phillips.
49. Ex-Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
52. Ex-Bears defensive end Julius Peppers.
53. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
54. Bears cornerback Charles Tillman.
56. Texans defensive end Antonio Smith.
61. Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond III.
63. Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner.
65. Cowboys defensive end/outside linebacker Anthony Spencer.
68. 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown.
72. Packers tight end Jermichael Finley.
76. Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno.
81. Patriots inside linebacker Brandon Spikes.
82. Packers running back James Starks.
83. Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers.
87. Ex-Buccaneers offensive guard Davin Joseph.
90. Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell.
91. Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount.
93. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
95. Saints center Brian De La Puente.
99. Panthers offensive guard Travelle Wharton.
100. Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith.
101. Raiders defensive tackle Pat Sims.
102. Saints offensive tackle Zach Strief.
103. Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson.
106. Chargers defensive tackle Cam Thomas.
108. Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman.
49ers sign Chris Cook
Posted by Josh Alper on March 14, 2014
The 49ers found themselves a bit thin at cornerback with Carlos Rogers released andTarell Brown a free agent, but things are a bit rounder with word that Chris Cook has signed with the team.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that the team has reached agreement with the former Viking on a one-year deal.
Cook is 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds with long arms, which gives the 49ers the big corner that they’ve been looking for this offseason. Cook also has good speed, which made him a second-round pick in 2010, but he never put things together on the field for the Vikings. Cook started 29 games over his four years in Minnesota without making an interception and also got in trouble off the field that made his tenure even rockier.
The Niners are obviously betting that Cook’s physical gifts can be turned into something more valuable on the field. It’s not likely to cost them a big chunk of money to make that bet and they could still look for other options to go withTramaine Brock, Eric Wright and Chris Culliver.
Michael Oher signs with the Titans
Posted by Michael David Smith on March 14, 2014
Michael Oher is heading to Tennessee.
Oher, the offensive tackle who has spent his entire five-year career with the Ravens, agreed to terms today on a contract with the Titans. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, it’s a four-year, $20 million deal that includes $9.5 million guaranteed.
Although Oher has started all 80 games since the Ravens selected him in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft, he struggled at times last season. And although he was drafted with the hopes that he’d be a franchise left tackle, he seemed to be more suited to the right side.
As the subject of the best-selling book and hit movie The Blind Side, Oher is the NFL’s most famous offensive lineman. In Tennessee, he’ll be counted on to help turn around an offense that new coach Ken Whisenhunt was hired to revitalize.
Oher is the No. 29 player in our Free Agent Hot 100.
Antonio Smith lands in Oakland
Posted by Mike Florio on March 14, 2014
The Raiders have responded to the Rodger Saffold fiasco by systematically locking up veteran talent for the other side of the ball.
On Thursday, they added defensive end Justin Tuck and linebacker LaMarr Woodley. On Friday, they added cornerbackTarell Brown.
Now, per a league source, they’ve signed former Texans defensive end Antonio Smith. It’s a two-year, $9 million deal.
The 10-year veteran played five years with the Cardinals before joining the Texans, where he spent five years. Perhaps best known for a Ninja Assassin sack dance, Smith famously has feuded with Dolphins guard Richie Incognito on multiple occasions in the past.
Most recently, Smith was suspended for two preseason games and one regular-season game after removing Incognito’s helmet during a preseason contest and swinging it at Incognito’s head.
Now that Smith is with the Raiders and Jonathan Martin plays for the 49ers, maybe there’s a way to find some other common ground among the two rival Bay Area franchises.
Brandon Browner chooses the Patriots
Posted by Mike Florio on March 14, 2014
The Patriots’ secondary will be much improved in 2014. October of 2014.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis will be there from the get-go. After four games, cornerbackBrandon Browner will be joining the effort.
Browner tells Josina Anderson of ESPN that he has agreed on Friday to a three-year deal with the Patriots.
The agreement comes after Browner’s agent, Peter Schaffer, negotiated with three other teams — Washington, New Orleans, and Oakland.
The negotiations resulted in an erroneous report from NFL Media on Thursday night that Browner had agreed to a two-year contract with New England. Schaffer angrily responded to the report, going on the record to call it “100 percent untrue” and lamenting the fact that his phone was blowing up with calls and texts at a time when he was trying to play in a recreational hockey league game.
His comments also spawned a quote destined to land on a T-shirt bearing a PFT logo: “I just wanna play hockey.”
Suspended for at least a year in December, Browner negotiated the ability to return to the NFL now in exchange for an agreement to abandon litigation arising from the league’s effort to subject him to substance-abuse testing while he wasn’t employed by any NFL team. Those tests, which he missed because he wasn’t made aware of them, put him within one violation of a one-year suspension. Last year, the violation happened, and the suspension was imposed.
But Browner also agreed to accept a four-game suspension. He’s presumably in Stage III of the testing program, which again puts him one violation away from a one-year suspension.
Browner initially entered the NFL in 2005 with the Broncos. Cut the following year, he eventually played in the CFL before Seahawks G.M. John Schneider brought him back to the NFL in 2011.
Raiders sign Tarell Brown
Posted by Michael David Smith on March 14, 2014
Tarell Brown is leaving the 49ers but staying in the Bay Area.
Brown, a cornerback who has played his entire seven-year career in San Francisco, has signed a contract with Oakland. The Raiders, who have been relatively quiet in free agency despite leading the league in salary cap space, announced the move on Friday.
The 29-year-old Brown played in 13 regular-season games for the 49ers last season, starting 10, and he also started all three playoff games. He’ll provide an upgrade to an Oakland secondary that struggled throughout the 2013 season.
Brown was the No. 68 player in our Free Agent Hot 100.
Report: Colts agree to one-year deal with Hakeem Nicks
Posted by Darin Gantt on March 14, 2014
The Colts sent out a photo this afternoon of free agent wide receiver Hakeem Nicks walking the halls.
They probably wouldn’t have done that if they weren’t confident.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said the Colts were closing in on a deal with the former Giants wideout, and Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports just confirmed that Nicks had agreed to a one-year deal.
A prove-it deal seemed most likely for Nicks after a disappointing final season with the Giants, but his destination surprised some.
It’s unclear if his hometown Panthers, who have no receivers at all at the moment, were in the mix or not. But Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson furthered his reputation as a closer by getting the deal done before Nicks could visit San Diego.
Edelman returns to the Pats
Posted by Mike Florio on March 15, 2014
It took a little while, but it finally was resolved.
A year after hitting free agency and returning to New England on a one-year deal, receiverJulian Edelman has re-signed once again with the Patriots.
In addition to multiple reports of a deal, Edelman has declared on Twitter, “Foxboro is home. Excited to be back.”
The agreement comes after the Pats had pushed Edelman to accept a three-year offer before the start of free agency. He didn’t, opting instead to test the waters, drawing interest from Cleveland and San Francisco.
Edelman visited the 49ers before negotiations resumed with the Patriots. It’ll be interesting to see how the final agreement compares to the offer that was rejected four days ago.
Browns and Ben Tate make it official
Posted by Michael David Smith on March 15, 2014
We expected it to happen today, and now it has: Ben Tate is a Brown.
Tate announced on Twitter that he has signed with Cleveland, via a picture of himself in a Browns hat, and the team officially announced the signing on Twitter as well.
Coming out of Auburn in 2010, Tate was seen as a good prospect, and the Texans chose him in the second round of the draft. But Tate broke his ankle and missed his entire rookie season. In three seasons since then, Tate has played well while splitting carries with Arian Foster in Houston.
In Cleveland, Tate instantly becomes by far the best running back on the roster. Last year Willis McGahee led the Browns in rushing with 377 yards on 138 carries, a meager average of 2.7 yards an attempt. Suffice to say the Browns are expecting a lot more than that out of Tate in 2014. And a Cleveland team that has also signed safety Donte Whitner, linebacker Karlos Dansby, tight end Jim Dray and receiver Andrew Hawkins is expecting a lot more than the 4-12 or 5-11 records that have become the norm.
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