Football

NFL free agency roundup: Dawkins signs with Broncos

In an effort to improve the NFL's worst defence the Denver Broncos have signed seven-time Pro Bowl free safety Brian Dawkins.

Multi-time Pro Bowl safety hopes to improve Denver's awful defence

In an effort to improve the NFL's worst defence the Denver Broncos have signed seven-time Pro Bowl free safety Brian Dawkins.

Dawkins, 35, has played his entire 13-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles and in his final season with the team had 75 tackles and forced six fumbles.

The Broncos gave up 448 points last season and new coach Josh McDaniels is hoping the veteran's hard-hitting style and leadership qualities will make a big difference to his leaky crew.

McDaniels, who was offensive co-ordinator with the New England Patriots before being hired to replace Mike Shanahan in Denver, comes to a team that went through six different free safeties last season.

Bills bolster offensive line

Free agent offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner has signed with the Buffalo Bills, becoming the first addition to their rebuilding line.

The deal was announced by the Bills on Saturday after the former Carolina Panthers player spent the day meeting with team executives and coaches. A fifth-round draft pick from Texas A&M in 2005, Hangartner played both centre and right guard for the Panthers.

The Bills have needs at both positions after releasing left guard Derrick Dockery on Thursday, and after electing not to re-sign starting centre Duke Preston and backup Melvin Fowler this off-season. Listed at 6-foot-5, 301 pounds, Hangartner appeared in 16 games and made eight starts last season.

Lions ink running back Morris

Former Seattle Seahawk running back Maurice Morris signed a three-year deal with the Detroit Lions on Saturday.

Morris, who had played seven years with the Hawks, rushed for 574 yards and had two touchdowns for the team in 2008.

The Lions also signed cornerback Eric King, who had played for the Tennessee Titans for three seasons.

Jets keep key lineman

Brandon Moore is back on the New York Jets' offensive line now that a deal for his replacement fell through.

The Jets re-signed the right guard Saturday to a four-year, $16-million US deal a day after Pittsburgh left guard Chris Kemoeatu turned down an offer from New York and returned to the Steelers. Moore agreed to terms Friday after being cut Thursday by the Jets, who were due to pay the seven-year veteran a $7-million roster bonus under his former contract.

Moore, considered the team's best run blocker, helped pave the way for Thomas Jones to lead the AFC in rushing last season. The Jets' entire offensive line will return this season — Moore, centre Nick Mangold, left guard Alan Faneca and tackles D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Damien Woody.

Giants sign linebacker Boley

The New York Giants shored up their defence Saturday, signing former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Michael Boley to a five-year, $25-million contract.

The 26-year-old Boley is excellent in pass coverage and he is expected to be given a shot at winning the weak-side job. He played the strong side for Atlanta.

Niners nab speedy receiver Jones

Receiver Brandon Jones has agreed to join the San Francisco 49ers, getting a five-year contract worth $16.5 million.

Jones spent his first four NFL seasons with Tennessee, where he caught 41 passes for 449 yards and a touchdown last season. He was hampered by significant injuries in two of his four seasons, including a groin injury that limited him to nine games in 2007.

The 49ers were intrigued by Jones's exceptional speed, which could provide an element lacking in San Francisco's struggling offence last season. Jones, whose new contract features $5.4 million in guaranteed money, quickly signed with the 49ers after arriving in town Friday night.

Vikings keep Kleinsasser

Tight end Jim Kleinsasser has re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

The deal was finished Saturday, keeping the North Dakota native in line to finish his career with his favorite team from childhood. Kleinsasser was a second-round draft pick in 1999 and has become one of the league's most rugged blockers.

Over 10 seasons, Kleinsasser has only 1,466 yards and six touchdowns receiving, but he's a vital part of the Vikings' rushing attack with his ability to seal the edge.

Eagles pick up o-lineman Andrews

Former Cincinnati Bengals tackle Stacy Andrews agreed to a six-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The tackle is expected to replace Jon Runyan on the offensive line. Runyan had started every game for the Eagles since 2000.

Andrews will be reunited with his younger brother, Shawn, a former All-Pro guard with Philadelphia.

Texans grab defensive end Smith

The Houston Texans signed free-agent defensive end Antonio Smith on Saturday.

Smith appeared in each regular season game and started three of four playoff games for the NFC-champion Arizona Cardinals last season.

The Texans needed someone to start opposite 2006 top overall pick Mario Williams after releasing Anthony Weaver earlier this week.

Weaver had one sack in his three years in Houston and the Texans need a pass-rush threat at the second end position.

With files from the Associated Press