NFL free agency: QB Cousins takes Washington's $24M offer

Kirk Cousins' agent said the Washington quarterback has signed his contract for the exclusive franchise tag Friday as action continued in NFL free agency.

Browns cutting RG3

Kirk Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards last season. (David Banks/Getty Images)

The latest on major moves made Friday in NFL free agency:

Cousins accepts franchise deal

Kirk Cousins' agent says the Washington quarterback has signed his contract for the exclusive franchise tag.

Mike McCartney tweeted the news on Friday morning, 10 days after the team placed the tag on Cousins, guaranteeing him a salary of about $24 million US for the 2017 season.

Cousins made nearly $20 million last season under a tag.

Washington has until July 15 to try to work out a long-term deal with their starting QB. They also could trade Cousins.

Last season, Cousins broke his own franchise record for passing yards, nearly eclipsing 5,000, and set another team mark with more than 400 completions, throwing for 25 TDs and 12 interceptions with a completion percentage of 67.

Browns done with RG3

A person familiar with the decision says the Cleveland Browns are releasing quarterback Robert Griffin III after one injury-marred season.

Speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the move, the person says Griffin is being let go a day before he would have been due a $750,000 roster bonus.

After he was waived by Washington, Griffin signed with the Browns last March hoping to revive his career. However, the 27-year-old broke his right shoulder in the season opener and missed 11 games.

Griffin returned late in the year and led the Browns to their only win.

Griffin's departure comes a day after the Browns acquired Brock Osweiler in a trade with Houston. Osweiler, though, is not viewed as Cleveland's long-term answer at quarterback.

The Browns have the assets to make another deal for a QB or take one high in this year's draft.

Pryor leaves for Redskins

The Washington Redskins have signed wide receiver Terrelle Pryor to a reported one-year contract worth $8 million.

Pryor spent the past two seasons with the Cleveland Browns after breaking into the NFL as a quarterback.

The 27-year-old had 77 catches for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns last season. He also took a handful of snaps at quarterback.

Jags spend big

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed four free agents, including three defensive starters, to contracts totalling more than $150 million.

Cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive end Calais Campbell, safety Barry Church and backup linebacker Lerentee McCray signed new deals.

Bouye, Campbell and Church are significant additions to a defence that ranked sixth in the NFL last season.

The 25-year-old Bouye replaces Prince Amukamara and will play opposite budding star Jalen Ramsey, giving the Jaguars one of the league's top coverage tandems. The 30-year-old Campbell replaces Jared Odrick, who was released last month, and is expected to upgrade the team's pass rush. The 29-year-old Church replaces Johnathan Cyprien, a second-round draft pick in 2013, and is expected to be a versatile newcomer to a talented secondary.

Cards re-up Chandler Jones

The Arizona Cardinals and outside linebacker Chandler Jones have agreed to a five-year contract.

The agreement comes after the Cardinals placed the franchise tag on Jones to prevent him from becoming a free agent.

The Cardinals acquired Jones in a trade with New England before last season, and general manager Steve Keim had said all along that the team would sign the player to a long-term contract.

Jones had 11 sacks last season with the Cardinals, along with four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss. He had 12½ sacks for the Patriots in 2015, making him one of three players with double-digit sacks in each of the past two seasons.

Pats acquire Ealy

The Carolina Panthers have confirmed they traded defensive end Kony Ealy and a third-round pick this year to New England in exchange for the Patriots' second-round draft pick this year.

Ealy had three sacks in the Super Bowl against Denver two years ago, but struggled to build on that success last season and never developed into the dominant pass rusher the team hoped he would become.

The Panthers moved up eight spots from No. 72 to 64 in the draft in the deal. The trade won't become official until Ealy passes his physical.

Ealy became expendable when the team agreed to terms with Julius Peppers earlier in the day.

Packers sign TE Martellus Bennett

The Green Bay Packers have signed Martellus Bennett, giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers a prolific pass-catching target at tight end.

Terms of the deal were not announced by general manager Ted Thompson.

The addition of Bennett likely means that last year's starter, Jared Cook, won't return to Green Bay. Cook became a favourite option down the stretch for Rodgers.

But Bennett should be more than capable of making up for Cook's production on a team with annual Super Bowl aspirations.

The nine-year veteran Bennett played last season for New England, making 55 catches for 701 yards and seven touchdowns over 16 games.

Bennett has 403 receptions and 30 touchdowns, averaging 10.6 yards a catch. He has 50-plus receptions in each of the past five seasons.


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