NFL free agency: Darrelle Revis signs with Patriots
Panthers cuts ties with WR Steve Smith
Cornerback Darrelle Revis has agreed to contract terms with the New England Patriots, according to his business manager John Geiger on Thursday.
The Patriots wasted little time in finding a replacement for another top cornerback. On Tuesday, Aqib Talib left for a six-year contract worth a reported $57 million US with the Denver Broncos.
The agreement with Revis was first reported by ESPN, which said it was for one year at $12 million. The Patriots have not made an announcement regarding Revis.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released the three-time All-Pro on Wednesday before he was due a $1.5 million bonus. Revis was cut after efforts to trade him and his $16 million salary failed.
Now he's with New England, the AFC rival of the New York Jets, the team Revis spent his first six seasons with before being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before last year's draft.
As a Jet, Revis faced the Patriots 12 times in the regular season and post-season, more than any other opponent. He had two interceptions, nine passes defenced, one fumble recovery and 50 tackles in those games.
Revis, known for his lock-down coverage of receivers, trademarked the phrase "Revis Island," a nickname he was given because of his ability in man-to-man coverage.
He's an upgrade over Talib, and more durable, and comes to a defence that allowed the 15th most yards passing in the NFL last season and the seventh most overall. The Patriots also could use another pass-rushing defensive end to complement Chandler Jones, who led them with 11 1-2 sacks last season.
Panthers cut ties with Steve Smith
The Carolina Panthers have released their all-time leading receiver Steve Smith, general manager Dave Gettleman confirmed in a statement.
A five-time Pro Bowl selection who ranks 19th all-time in the NFL in receptions, Smith caught 64 passes for 746 yards and four TDs last season helping the Panthers win the NFC South championship.
The decision comes one day after Smith's agent Derrick Fox told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the 13-year NFL veteran "is not going to play for the Panthers next year, I know that."
Fox said the Panthers never asked Smith to restructure his current contract and were trying to trade him.
Raiders ink Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley
The Oakland Raiders got some good news in free agency Thursday, one day after voiding top target Rodger Saffold's contract because of a bad shoulder.
The Raiders signed defensive end Justin Tuck and linebacker LaMarr Woodley to two-year deals in an effort to bolster their pass rush. ESPN reported that Tuck will be paid $11 million and Woodley's deal is worth up to $12 million.
The two pass rushers have combined for 117.5 career sacks, reached double figures in a season seven times and have won three Super Bowl titles in their careers.
Tuck joins the Raiders following nine seasons with the New York Giants during which he helped the team win two Super Bowl titles. Tuck has made two Pro Bowls and has 60.5 career sacks, 20 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries in 127 career games with New York.
Saints trade Sproles to Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles acquired Darren Sproles from the New Orleans Saints for a fifth-round draft pick.
The move was followed by the Eagles agreeing on a two-year contract with former Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll.
The Saints get the second of Philadelphia's two fifth-round picks in May. It previously belonged to the New England Patriots.
Sproles is coming off one of his least productive seasons. He ranked in the bottom five among punt returners with a 6.7 yards per return average and was third-worst among kick returners with an average of 21.3. Sproles had 71 catches for 604 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 220 yards and two scores.
Carroll had three interceptions and two sacks in 12 starts last season. He's the fourth free agent signed by the Eagles since Tuesday, joining safety Malcolm Jenkins and special teams standouts Chris Maragos and Bryan Braman.
Jaguars agree to contracts with Clemons, Hood
The Jacksonville Jaguars are continuing to revamp their defensive line by agreeing to terms with free agents Chris Clemons and Ziggy Hood.
Seattle released Clemons in a cost-cutting move Wednesday. His cross-country trek to Jacksonville reunites him with former Seahawks defensive coordinator and current Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley.
The 32-year-old Clemons is expected to sign a four-year deal following a physical Thursday. The 27-year-old Hood, who spent the last five years in Pittsburgh, also will sign Thursday.
After failing to find success in Oakland and Philadelphia, Clemons thrived in Seattle under Bradley. He was the team's top pass rusher from 2010 to 2012, recording 33 ½ sacks and getting at least 11 each year.
Jacksonville signed former Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant last week.
Lions sign Canadian DL Vaughn Martin
Canadian defensive tackle Vaughn Martin is a little closer to home.
Chad Speck, Martin's agent, tweeted the former Western Mustangs star had agreed to terms with the Detroit Lions. The six-foot-four, 297-pound Martin began last season with the Miami Dolphins but appeared in three games before being released with a sports hernia.
Martin was born in Jamaica but was raised in Toronto and London, Ont. He was selected in the fifth round, No. 39 overall, by the Montreal Alouettes in the 2011 CFL draft.
But the San Diego Chargers selected Martin in the fourth round, No. 113 overall, in the 2009 NFL draft. Martin became the first Canadian underclassman to be selected as he still had three years of eligibility remaining at Western when he declared for the draft.
Martin started 27 of the 48 games he suited up for with the Chargers. The 27-year-old recorded 78 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble during his time with San Diego before signing with Miami as a free agent.
Martin will provide Detroit with depth behind stalwarts Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. He originally visited with the Lions last month.
Bears agree to 3-year deal with DE Young
The Chicago Bears agreed to a three-year contract with defensive end Willie Young and a one-year deal with receiver Domenik Hixon on Thursday.
Young joins a defence that is getting a makeover after struggling in a big way last season. The Bears released eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers this week and brought in defensive end Lamarr Houston from Oakland, linebacker Jordan Senn from Carolina and safeties Ryan Mundy (New York Giants) and M.D. Jennings (Green Bay).
The 28-year old Young spent four years with Detroit. He had 47 tackles, three sacks, five pass breakups and two fumble recoveries last season.
Hixon had seven catches for 55 yards with Carolina in 2013. He has experience returning kickoffs and punts but did neither for the Panthers.
He previously played for Denver (2006-07) and the New York Giants (2007-12). In Chicago, he'll be reuniting with quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall, his teammates with the Broncos.
Seahawks bring back QB Jackson
The Seattle Seahawks and Tarvaris Jackson have agreed to terms on a contract to keep their backup quarterback on the roster for another season.
The Seahawks confirmed the agreement Thursday. Jackson is a favorite in the Seahawks locker room and a capable backup to Russell Wilson.
Jackson was part of the three-way quarterback competition that Wilson won during the 2012 preseason. He was later traded to Buffalo but never got into the mix with the Bills. He was released last preseason and immediately brought back to Seattle to serve as Wilson's backup. Jackson appeared in three games during the 2013 regular season and even got a few snaps in Seattle's Super Bowl win over Denver.
Jackson started 14 games for Seattle in 2011 while playing through a chest injury.
Browns sign TE Jim Day
The Browns have signed free agent tight end Jim Dray, who spent the past four years with Arizona.
Dray had career highs with 26 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns last season for the Cardinals. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Dray is mostly a blocker, and will provide quality depth behind Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron and Gary Barnidge.
Dray was drafted in the seventh round in 2010 out of Stanford.
The Browns are expected to turn their attention to a slot wide receiver. They signed Cincinnati restricted free agent Andrew Hawkins to an offer sheet earlier this week. The Bengals have five days to match the reported $12.2 million offer.
Also, Cleveland is believed to have interest in New England's Julian Edelman, who caught 105 passes last season and was a teammate for three seasons with Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer.