Tag:2011 NFL Free Agency
Posted on: July 30, 2011 9:40 pm

Bears land Marion Barber, Amobi Okoye

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It took a couple days, but the Bears have finally gotten going in free agency.

Already, they had signed former Cowboys WR Roy Williams and taken a chance on former Jets LB Vernon Gholston, and Saturday night, the team added more pieces, announcing that it’s come to terms with former Cowboys RB Marion Barber and former Texans DT Amobi Okoye.

The team said Okoye’s contract is a one-year deal, while NFL.com’s Jason LaCanfora writes Barber’s contract is for two years and $5 million.

Considering Bears RB Matt Forte isn’t happy right now and has threatened to hold out because he’s slated to make only $550,000 in base salary this year -- he has reported, by the way -- Chicago’s move seems like one that could help change Forte’s attitude. As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune pointed out, you also have to wonder about Chester Taylor's future with the organization. 

Barber had a hard time staying healthy in Dallas, and earlier this week, he was dropped in favor of rookie DeMarco Murray. Meanwhile, Okoye, a former first-round pick, hasn’t been all that productive since he recorded 5 ½ sacks in his 2007 rookie season, recording just 5 ½ sacks since then.

Now, both get a chance to rejuvenate their careers in Chicago.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 7:29 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 7:55 pm

After Manning, Colts target, reacquire Addai

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Colts have been busy with their checkbook today, and the offense will be better for it (or presumably, just as good as it was last year).

We’ve already told you about the epic signing of QB Peyton Manning, and now, courtesy of WISH-TV (via the Indianapolis Star) we bring to you the news that RB Joseph Addai has re-signed with the squad.

Though Addai rushed for at least 1,000 yards his first two years in the league, he’s missed 13 games combined in the past three years and has not topped the 850-yard mark.

But, when healthy, he’s a solid player, and with Donald Brown and Javarris James also on the squad, Addai is certainly the best running back on the team.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 11:05 am
Edited on: July 30, 2011 1:22 pm

Plaxico breakfasts with Steelers

BurressPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Since free agent Plaxico Burress was released from prison, there has been no shortage of rumors of where the 34-year-old ultimately could resume his career.

Would it be his old team, the Giants? Apparently, they’re interested. The Bears? Not so much. The Eagles? Michael Vick certainly wouldn’t mind that. The Jets? Sounds like they might take a shot at him.

Well, what about the Steelers? If Burress’ eating habits are any indication, it sounds like Pittsburgh is a real player to land Burress.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Ed Bouchette, Burress had breakfast with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on Saturday morning. Burress also met with team president Art Rooney and GM Kevin Colbert, who drafted Burress in 2000 (in case you forgot, Burress played his first five seasons in the league with the Steelers).

Said Colbert to reporters: “Obviously he's interested. His agent is interested and we're interested, so where it goes we'll find out.”

Colbert said he didn’t know how much money Burress would command, but if his expectations aren’t too high -- and coming off his prison stint, I don’t know why they would be -- Burress could be a nice fit to build some depth at the WR position.

All of this depends on how much solid football Burress actually has left in his body. Which, of course, nobody knows at this point.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 12:45 am

Rex had Adam Sandler call Nnamdi Asomugha

Posted by Will Brinson

Of all the insanity that's gone down this week, one thing truly stands out in a comical way: during the hot pursuit of Nnamdi Asomugha, Rex Ryan had noted Jets fan Adam Sandler ring up the free-agent cornerback and try to sell him on joining New York.

That's according to Mike Lombardi of the NFL Network (via Rich Eisen) and, um, I guess it didn't work?

I respect the move, because busting out celebrities is always a good way to woo people into doing something. But as Clark Judge and I discussed earlier on Friday, Nnamdi's a high-brow-type fella who liked the idea of coming to New York because it was a cultural apex.

Not because Sandler is a fan of the Jets. And, is Adam Sandler really the most famous Jets fan that Ryan could call on?

Or is Nnamdi like a huge fan of all the B-list movies he's been firing out lately? Or did Sandler ring him up and bust out some old-school humor by offering to give him "a dollar twenty-five, sir"?

We may never know. (Although it stands to reason that Rex will probably tell us at some point, actually.)

But it does seem safe to say that Nnamdi flipped a classic Sandler line -- "the price is wrong ..." -- on the actor.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:17 pm

Rams nab Harvey Dahl, Mike Sims-Walker, Mikell

Posted by Will Brinson

No one's going to accuse the Rams of being too active this offseason, but give them credit for continuing to make smart, low-risk plays without trying to sell the farm to make a run in the weak NFC West too early.

They continued the offseason trend by picking up guard Harvey Dahl (formerly of the Falcons), wideout Mike Sims-Walker (formerly of the Jaguars) and safety Quintin Mikell (formerly of the Eagles) on Friday.

Mikell, who played for coach Steve Spagnuolo in Philly, signed a four-year deal with the Rams.

“We are excited to add Quintin to our football team,” Spagnuolo said. “I have known him since his rookie year in Philadelphia and I have great respect for the person and player. We look forward to getting him in the mix and getting him up to speed."

Dahl agreed to terms earlier in the day Friday and reportedly will sign a four-year deal. Though the terms haven't been reported, the St. Louis Dispatch says that he "didn't come cheaply."

Whatever, Dahl's worth it -- the Rams are quietly piecing together a stout offensive line to protect Sam Bradford over the long term and with Steven Jackson in the backfield, should be potent offensively again in 2011.

There is the matter of wide receivers, however -- the Rams didn't hit on any of the big-name targets out in free agency (though that's not a bad thing, necessarily), but did yank Sims-Walker off the scrap heap late Friday.

"Last nite in orlando, got a early morning flight to catch to the midwest.... Yea its official I'm a RAM!!!!!!" he tweeted Friday.

MSW is reportedly getting a one-year deal worth $3.7 million which, again, minimizes the risk for the Rams but also helps boost their weakened wide receiver corps.

And puts them squarely in the camp of teams that decided not to break the bank chasing high-profile free agents. Sometimes, that's not such a bad thing, especially when you land some low risk players who can come in and solidify a team that's on the rise.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 8:30 pm

Bears sign Roy Williams, Vernon Gholston

Posted by Will Brinson

People have been wondering why the Bears didn't make a splash in free agency this year. Obviously $90 million to Julius Peppers in 2010 just isn't enough commitment.

So here's some, um, news: they've now (officially) signed both Roy Williams and Vernon Gholston.

No it's not the sexiest of offseason maneuvers, but both players do have upside. Particularly Williams -- at least if you're asking Bears' coach Lovie Smith.

"Roy Williams has number one receiver skill. Devin Hester does also," said Smith, per Zach Zaidman of the Bears Radio Network. "At least about five of the guys we have right now that I know of have that type of ability."

Williams does have No. 1 receiver ability. Otherwise he wouldn't have been a No. 1 receiver on several teams and Jerry Jones wouldn't have packaged the farm to Detroit in exchange for him. Of course, if he still was a No. 1 receiver, it's a lot less likely that he would have gotten cut by the Cowboys.

And as for Gholston, well, he's clearly got upside. After all, he was selected No. 6 overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. But start to Google his name and see what the second result is (hint: it rhymes with "rust").

But it's going to take a lot for the Bears to justify to fans that his signing was their "big move" this offseason. (Though in fairness they're still working on Olin Kreutz and they did land Nick Roach and Anthony Adams. So there's that.)

The harder sell might be that Williams is the answer to their lengthy issues at wideout, even if he has played in a Mike Martz offense before.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 7:52 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 10:11 pm

Cowboys were 'close' to getting Nnamdi

Posted by Will Brinson

As we've said elsewhere, the only rumors we really heard throughout the day Friday were that the Jets and Cowboys were in a dogfight for landing Nnamdi Asomugha. Then, of course, the Eagles swooped in and stole the best player on the market.

But were the Cowboys about to pull it off? According to Jerry Jones, via our Cowboys Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman, they were "close."

"We had an opportunity," Jones said. "We acted on it and, believe me, we firmly acted on it -- until my eyes watered."

Jones was also asked about pulling defensive coordinator Rob Ryan away from drills in order to hop on the phone with a then-unknown person on the other end. Turns out, it was indeed Nnamdi.

"I [wouldn't have gotten] Rob to break from a drill to come over unless it was serious business," Jones said.

To me, Jerry's comments about his eyes watering are kind of fascinating. Was five years, $60 million too much for the Cowboys to pay? And the Jets? Because that would be surprising -- $12 million a year seems relatively cheap considering that a) Darrelle Revis averages $11.5 million a year and b) the type of booming market we've seen for free agents this offseason.

Or perhaps Jones simply means he got upset when he was told that the Cowboys were out of the running for Nnamdi's services. If that's the case, then maybe Nnamdi did leave money on the table for what he felt was his best shot to win.

If it's the former, though, it means that while Nnamdi was easily the best cornerback on the market, he clearly wasn't ever worth the reported $19 million that was being thrown out, and that both the Cowboys and Jets didn't believe he was worth paying more than Revis.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 6:46 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 10:16 pm

Cam Newton signs $22M guaranteed contract

Posted by Will Brinson

Cam Newton, the Panthers No. 1-overall draft pick, has signed his contract, and will make more than $22 million over four years, all of which is guaranteed.

Bus Cook, Newton's agent, told the The Associated Press via a text message Friday night that the deal was for four years and "$22 million-plus."

That's according to our Carolina Rapid Reporter Steve Reed, who cites a source close to the negotiations.

Newton, who played one year at Auburn before turning pro, will make substantially less than last year's top pick, Sam Bradford made. Like, a lot less: Bradford signed a deal for $78 million over six years.

But that money, freed up by new CBA rules governing rookie salaries, also allowed the Panthers to go out and sign some of their bigger names -- Charles Johnson, DeAngelo Williams -- in free agency.

Newton was seen Friday evening driving into the back lot of the Richardson Physical Activities Building and entering the offices that serve as team headquarters for Carolina's training camp at Wofford College.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera had said earlier Friday that he expected the former Auburn quarterback to be at Wofford when Carolina held its first practice session on Saturday. Also earlier Friday, general manager Marty Hurney said the sides were making good progress on an agreement.
Free Agency Frenzy

It's a testament to Jerry Richardson's involvement with the CBA that Carolina was able to pull off such moves; it's highly unlikely he would have drafted Newton if he'd thought that the quarterback would make the type of money that previous top-selected quarterbacks did.

Instead, the Panthers were able to not only pick up a potential franchise quarterback -- who, admittedly, has boom-or-bust potential -- but also reload their roster with the top talent that appeared to be headed elsewhere.

That might not ease the pain of losing $30 million in guaranteed money for Newton, but it'll at least ease his transition into the NFL.

"I don't think it's going to be a problem for me. I think it's just timing more than anything," Newton said last May. "Just repetition as far as me knowing what I have to do, knowing the assignment, the alignment and what everybody's doing on that particular play."

Newton has had Chudzinski's playbook since April 29, when a judge temporarily lifted the lockout. Panthers receiver Steve Smith said he was impressed with Newton's skills he saw during private workouts the two have had before labor peace was reached.

Another Panthers rookie from Auburn, receiver Darvin Adams, called Newton a "natural born leader."

Newton will be looked at to bring stability to a position where the Panthers struggled greatly last season. Carolina was last in several NFL categories and finished with the fewest points in team history.

Rivera said Newton would battle for the starting job with the quarterbacks in camp, last year's starter Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike. General manager Marty Hurney didn't rule out bringing a veteran quarterback to add depth during camp.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
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