IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys on Thursday signed defensive tackle Jason Ferguson and guard Marco Rivera, two more needed players to their offseason upgrade.
The Cowboys also signed cornerback Anthony Henry on Wednesday and quarterback Drew Bledsoe last week, filling their four most pressing needs just two days into free agency.
Like Bledsoe, Ferguson is a former draftee of Cowboys coach Bill Parcells. Parcells has often called the massive defensive tackle one of the best picks he's ever made, mainly because he snagged him in the seventh round for the New York Jets.
Ferguson was expected to get a five-year deal worth $21.5 million, with a signing bonus of $9 million.
The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Ferguson becomes the anchor of what will be a revamped defensive line, especially if the Cowboys shift from the 4-3 to a 3-4. Regardless, he becomes the block-eating wide body to pair next to perennial Pro Bowl pick La'Roi Glover. Full story
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers signed offensive lineman Mike Wahle and cornerback Ken Lucas to long-term contracts, the most aggressive single day of free-agent acquisitions in franchise history.
Wahle, who spent seven seasons in Green Bay, signed a five-year deal worth about $25 million. Lucas, a three-year starter in Seattle, signed a six-year contract. Terms on Lucas' deal were not immediately available, but his signing bonus was believed to be $13 million.
Lucas said he desperately wanted to join Carolina's vaunted defense to play behind Julius Peppers and Kris Jenkins.
Whale said winning a Super Bowl is his top priority and he believed he had a better shot at doing that with Carolina. The Panthers were the 2003 NFC champions, but lost to New England in the Super Bowl.
Warfield gets jail time, house arrest for DUI
OLATHE, Kan. -- Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 80 days of house arrest for drinking and driving.
The 28-year-old Warfield pleaded no contest in January to a felony charge of driving under the influence.
The charge was a felony because Warfield has two prior DUI convictions. As part of a plea agreement with Johnson County prosecutors, Warfield also was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine and perform 100 hours of community service. He will be on probation for a year.
In exchange for the no-contest plea, prosecutors dropped misdemeanor counts of driving with a suspended license and having no proof of insurance.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The agent for Pittsburgh receiver Plaxico Burress has had preliminary talks with the Minnesota Vikings about his client replacing Randy Moss.
Michael Harrison told the Associated Press that Burress would not mind playing with quarterback Daunte Culpepper in Minnesota.
"Plaxico's interested in being in Minnesota," Harrison said. "I think it is a good fit for both sides."
Burress' best season came in 2002, when he had 78 catches for 1,325 yards and seven TDs. But an injury last season and quarterback inconsistencies contributed to lower numbers in 2003 and 2004.
Patriots pick up CB Starks from Cardinals
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The New England Patriots acquired cornerback Duane Starks from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a third-round draft pick this year. The teams also will exchange fifth-round picks as part of the deal.
Starks signed a five-year, $23 million free agent contract with the Cardinals in 2002, leaving the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
In 25 games over three seasons, 18 of them starts, Starks had 119 tackles, five interceptions, 19 passes defended, two fumble recoveries and a sack.
The Cardinals, already far under the NFL salary cap, save about $1.6 million on the deal.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers signed left tackle Jonas Jennings, acquiring the top free agent available at a problematic position for the club.
Jennings spent his first four seasons with the Buffalo Bills, starting 14 games last season.
He should provide the 49ers with a significant improvement on their mediocre line, which struggled during San Francisco's 2-14 season. The Niners allowed 52 sacks, and running back Kevan Barlow became frustrated with inadequate run blocking.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings wasted little time addressing their defensive needs, agreeing to terms with veteran defensive tackle Pat Williams.
Williams agreed to a three-year deal worth $13 million, with a $6 million signing bonus.
Williams spent the first eight years of his career in Buffalo, where he became one of the NFL's best run-stoppers. He'll line up next to Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams to form a stout tandem up the middle for the Vikings, who ranked 21st against the run and 28th overall on defense last season.
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams added their second free-agent linebacker in two days, signing Chris Claiborne to a three-year, $10.5 million contract.
Claiborne, a middle linebacker, gets a $3.6 million signing bonus and joins outside linebacker Dexter Coakley in the Rams' restocked defense. Coakley received a five-year, $14.5 million deal with a $3 million signing bonus.
Claiborne, 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, was the ninth overall pick in the 1999 draft by the Lions out of Southern California. He visited the Rams after the 2002 season but ended up signing with the Vikings. He missed four games for Minnesota last year with a calf injury and was seventh on the team in tackles with 81.
Douglas sticks with Eagles
PHILADELPHIA -- Veteran defensive end Hugh Douglas agreed to a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"It was really important for me to be back with this group of guys here in Philadelphia," Douglas said in a statement. "This is a special place to play, there's no question about that."
A strong presence in the locker room, Douglas spent five seasons with the Eagles -- going to the Pro Bowl three times -- before signing a big free-agent deal with Jacksonville, which cut him following a disappointing 2003 season. The 33-year-old Douglas returned to the Eagles last year.
Douglas battled injuries last season, recording 19 tackles and three sacks in spot duty as the backup to free agent Derrick Burgess.
Chargers give safety Jue three-year deal
SAN DIEGO -- Safety Bhawoh Jue signed a three-year contract with the San Diego Chargers, the first foray into the free-agent market for the AFC West champions. Financial terms were not immediately available.
Jue was an unrestricted free agent from Green Bay, where he had 34 tackles and an interception last season. He could replace starting free safety Jerry Wilson, who is an unrestricted free agent.
The Packers used Jue as a backup last season at both strong safety and free safety.
Cardinals claim two Vikings off waivers
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals claimed running back Larry Ned and cornerback Rhett Nelson off waivers from Minnesota.
Ned, who ranked fourth on the team with 15 special teams tackles, appeared in all 16 regular season games and both playoff games for the Vikings.
Nelson appeared in five games for the Vikings last season after being signed to their active roster Nov. 12.
Broncos add linebacker Gold, keep lineman Hamilton
DENVER -- The Denver Broncos signed Ian Gold, a sixth-year linebacker, to a free-agent contract, bringing him back to the team after a one-year stay with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Broncos also kept Ben Hamilton despite being a coveted offensive lineman in free agency.
Gold, a second-round draft pick in 2000, became a starter for the Broncos in 2002 and made 6½ sacks. The season before that, he made the Pro Bowl as a special teams player. He has 374 tackles in 70 games with the Broncos and Bucs over his five seasons. Hamilton has started every game for the last three years for Denver.
Terms for both deals were not immediately available.
Redskins add receiver Patten
ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins agreed to terms with free-agent receiver David Patten.
Patten caught 44 passes for 800 yards and seven touchdowns last season for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and will be a candidate to replace Rod Gardner at the No. 2 receiver spot.
Patten has started 58 career games over eight seasons with the New York Giants (1997-99), Cleveland (2000) and New England (2001-04). He caught two passes in the postseason for the Patriots last season, but he did not have a catch in the Super Bowl victory over Philadelphia. He was also a kick returner with the Giants and Browns.