The Associated Press
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On a day that turned into a free-agent frenzy, the Super Bowl champions are looking for a quarterback.
With Brock Osweiler agreeing to a deal with the Houston Texans — two days after Peyton Manning retired — the Denver Broncos are in the QB market. But with a pair of pretty decent quarterbacks running the team, John Elway as general manager and Gary Kubiak as coach, perhaps the search is in good hands.
It’s not clear what will happen, but a bunch of quarterbacks just might be available to step in, including the 49ers Colin Kaepernick, the Jets Ryan Fitzpatrick, former Redskin Robert Griffin III and even the Browns’ Johnny Manziel.
Kaepernick is still on the 49ers roster, but there has been trade talk in recent weeks. Fitzpatrick is a free agent after his one season with the Jets. RGIII was released by Washington. The troubled Manziel is still with the Browns, but his playing status remains in question with legal issues still under investigation.
With the news of Osweiler’s departure, Elway said, “We’ve now turned our attention to other options at quarterback and are confident that we’ll find the right player and person for our team.”
Wow! The Giants sure made a splash in the free-agent market, spending in the neighborhood of $200 million, including agreeing to terms on a five-year, $85 million deal with former Dolphins pass rusher Olivier Vernon.
The Giants have missed the playoffs the past four years, and have a new coach in Ben McAdoo.
In addition, the Giants agreed to terms with former Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins and former Jets defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison. They also agreed to terms with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. And it all happened on the first day teams are allowed to sign free agents.
Vernon, 6-foot-2, 261 pounds, is the centerpiece of the Giants spending spree. He was regarded as the premier pass-rusher in this year’s free agent class. The 25-year-old had 7½ sacks in 16 starts in 2015 while being a constant presence in the backfield.
Also, the Giants came to an agreement on a pay cut for wide receiver Victor Cruz. Cruz confirmed on Twitter on Wednesday night the reduction that will cut his salary from $7.9 million to $1.3 million. His message read: “Once a Giant, always a Giant. See you in September.”
The Eagles shed unwanted contracts, moved into the top 10 of the NFL draft, picked up a starting safety, upgraded their offensive line and added a couple backups.
Philly finalized a trade with Miami that sends cornerback Byron Maxwell, linebacker Kiko Alonso and the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft for the eighth overall pick.
They also completed a deal to send 2014 NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray to Tennessee along with a fourth-round pick for the Titans’ fourth-round pick, moving up 13 spots in that round.
The trades gave Philadelphia an extra $10 million under the salary cap. The team used some of that money to add safety Rodney McLeod, guard Brandon Brooks and cornerback Ron Brooks.
The Eagles also agreed on a three-year with quarterback Chase Daniel, according to a person familiar with negotiations. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a physical and wasn’t officially announced.
— Reported by Rob Maaddi.
The New York Jets have released wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, who had the least productive year of his career after his role was diminished last season.
The Jaguars took another step toward rebuilding their defense by agreeing to terms with Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.
According to a person familiar with the negotiations, Gipson will sign a five-year deal worth up to $35.5 million Thursday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Jaguars aren’t announcing free-agent deals until players sign contracts.
Gipson had 207 tackles and 13 interceptions in his last three years in Cleveland.
The Jaguars also agreed to deals with Jets running back Chris Ivory and Panthers punter Brad Nortman.
The Saints and former Colts tight end Coby Fleener agreed to the terms of a five-year contract.
The addition of Fleener, a four-year veteran who caught 54 passes for 491 yards and three touchdowns last season, helps fill a void left by tight end Ben Watson’s departure for Baltimore.
The Tennessee Titans are still at it.
A person familiar with negotiations says the Titans have agreed to terms with Texans offensive lineman Ben Jones and veteran quarterback Matt Cassel.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the deals hadn’t been finalized.
The Titans swipe a lineman who started every game last season for AFC South rival Houston in Jones while adding experience to their offensive line to better protect quarterback Marcus Mariota. Tennessee gave up a league-worst 54 sacks last season.
And, of course, they’ve also acquired running back DeMarco Murray from the Eagles in a swap that also involved draft choices.
The price for acquiring running back DeMarco Murray for the Tennessee Titans couldn’t have been much cheaper.
The Titans reworked Murray’s contract, and they confirmed Wednesday they swapped fourth-round picks with the Eagles in a trade the running back’s agency announced Monday night.
The Titans will swap the second pick in the fourth round to the Eagles for Philadelphia’s 15th selection — a drop of 13 spots.
The 2014 NFL rushing leader gives Tennessee the threat it has lacked since releasing Chris Johnson in April 2014. He struggled last season in Philadelphia in former coach Chip Kelly’s offense, but still would’ve led the Titans in rushing with his 702 yards.
Johnny Manziel is not a man on the move, yet.
On the first day of free agency, the Browns lost a three-time Pro Bowler (Alex Mack) and their fastest player (Travis Benjamin), but surprisingly hung on to Manziel.
Cleveland did not release the troubled quarterback on the day the NFL began its new calendar year. The move had been expected for weeks, and the Browns had indicated they will move on without the 23-year-old.
Then again, the team could be waiting to see if they can trade Manziel for a late-round draft pick or possibly recoup some of the money owed to him if he’s suspended.
He is still facing potential criminal charges in Texas stemming from a domestic violence incident.
The Bears hope they’ve helped their defense by agreeing to a four-year contract linebacker Danny Trevathan of the Super Bowl champion Broncos.
He was the leading tackler on the league’s No. 1 defense. He also played for John Fox when the Bears coach was in Denver.
Yet another player is staying home.
All-Pro running back Doug Martin is re-signing for five seasons with the Tampa Bay Bucs. The top player at his position on the market will get more than $35 million, with $15 million guaranteed.
Martin has had two outstanding seasons with the Bucs and two injury-filled years. In 2015, he rushed for 1,402 yards, second in the NFL, and six touchdowns.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is returning to the Lions.
Agent Mike McCartney’s Twitter account says the 32-year-old Ngata had agreed to a two-year deal with Detroit. He joined the Lions in a trade before last season, when Detroit lost Ndamukong Suh to free agency.
Ngata started all 14 games he played last season, but he was a regular on the injury report. He dealt with hamstring, shoulder, calf, neck and foot issues.
The Raiders and Chiefs have added pass rushers to their rosters.
Oakland added former Seahawks player Bruce Irvin. The four-year deal is reportedly worth $39 million.
Oakland had previously agreed to a five-year deal worth up to $60 million with offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele.
With plenty of money to spend, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie is looking to help Oakland end a 13-year run of not making the playoffs.
The Chiefs went for outside linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi, a day after agreeing to a three-year deal to keep veteran Tamba Hali.
Massaquoi’s agency announced the deal on the opening day of free agency.
The Arizona Cardinals have reached agreement on a two-year, $10 million contract with free agent safety Tyvon Branch.
A person familiar with the deal spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been officially announced.
Branch played for the Chiefs last year after seven seasons with the Raiders.READ MORE: Motown Museum Set To Reopen This Weekend With Expansion Project Near Completion
— Reported by Bob Baum.
The Ravens have spoken up, and reached agreement on a two-year deal with free agent tight end Benjamin Watson, who had 74 catches for 825 yards and six touchdowns for the Saints last season.
The Giants’ first official move in free agency was to sign defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to a one-year contract. Says Pierre-Paul: “I have one year to prove myself, but all I need is one.”
A July 4 fireworks accident cost Pierre-Paul his right index finger and sidelined him for the first half of last season.
And here come the official announcements now that the free-agent period is open:
— The Falcons agreed to terms with quarterback Matt Schaub, and also agreed to terms on a five-year deal with free-agent center Alex Mack. Schaub spent three seasons with the Falcons, then was traded the Texans after the 2007 season. He played for the Raiders in 2014 and the Ravens last season.
— The Redskins have re-signed linebacker Mason Foster, defensive end Kedric Golston, safety Duke Ihenacho and quarterback Colt McCoy.
— The Dolphins have acquired linebacker Kiko Alonso and cornerback Byron Maxwell and the No. 13 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. In return, the Dolphins will send the Eagles the No. 8 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
Peyton Manning is retired and Brock Osweiler is moving to Houston.
Maybe GM John Elway lines up at quarterback next season for the Super Bowl champions?
Maybe not, but Elway is now searching for a couple of signal-callers for a position that has not been in flux since Manning joined the Broncos as a free agent in 2012, when Osweiler was drafted.
While five-time league MVP Manning led them through the playoffs and helped them beat Carolina 24-10 in the Super Bowl, his retirement just before turning 40 was no surprise. But with Elway unable to win a bidding war for Osweiler — who went 5-2 with Manning injured in 2015 — there’s a huge void behind center.
Among the quarterbacks on the market are Robert Griffin III, released by Washington, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, a free agent who comes off a career year with the Jets.
Griffin has done little since a spectacular Offensive Rookie of the Year season in 2012, and often has been injured. And the 33-yearold Fitzpatrick has never been to the playoffs.
Oh yeah, John, that kid named Manziel likely will be available, too.
Another day, another Super Bowl champion quarterback has left the Denver Broncos.
Two days after Peyton Manning retired, backup Brock Osweiler has agreed to a multiyear contract with the Houston Texans.
A person familiar with the negotiations spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because free-agent deals can’t be finalized until later Wednesday.
Osweiler appeared in eight games with seven starts last season for the Broncos. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound QB spent the four years with Denver after being drafted in the second round in 2012 out of Arizona State.
He threw for a 1,967 yards and 10 touchdowns with six interceptions last season.
The Texans are looking for an upgrade at the position after Brian Hoyer’s struggles last season.
—Reported by Kristie Rieken.
Some free agents are finding the best option is staying put. And they’re doing so just before free agency officially begins.
Star tight end Antonio Gates is remaining in San Diego with a two-year deal that will allow him to retire as a Charger. He’ll get $12 million, with $6 million guaranteed, to keep his terrific combination with quarterback Philip Rivers going. The 2016 season will be Gates’ 14th with the Chargers. He signed as a rookie free agent in 2003 after starring in basketball at Kent State. He turns 36 on June 18.
DE Charles Johnson re-upped with the Panthers, though for a major pay cut. The nine-year veteran was released last week in a salary cap move, and now receives a one-year contract worth $3 million to return to the NFC champions, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. He said Johnson turned down an offer in excess of $6 million from another team.
Linebacker Rolando McClain is returning for a third in season in Dallas. The 26-year-old McClain got one year at $5 million. He also has been with Oakland and Baltimore.
As the clock ticked down for NFL free agency to open, Johnny Manziel’s troubled tenure with the Cleveland Browns was set to close.
The team will release the quarterback Wednesday unless they can find a team willing to trade for Manziel, who is facing possible criminal charges in Texas and a league suspension.
Manziel started just eight games in two seasons with the Browns, who finally tired of his off-field antics. Manziel was involved in his second domestic violence incident in three months and the Browns’ new front office has made it clear they will not tolerate bad behavior by any of their players or employees.
The 23-year-old Manziel went just 2-6 as a starter, failing to live up the “Johnny Football” nickname he carried into the pros from college.
With Manziel headed out the door, the Browns are again focused on finding a franchise quarterback in this year’s draft. Cleveland has the No. 2 overall pick and are considering North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and California’s Jared Goff.
The Philadelphia Eagles are adding a pair of free agents, quarterback Chase Daniel and safety Rodney McLeod, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
Daniel agreed to a three-year contract, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because free-agent deals can’t be finalized until 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Daniel spent the past three seasons backing up Alex Smith in Kansas City, where new Eagles coach Doug Pederson was the offensive coordinator.
McLeod started every game for the Rams the past three seasons after joining them as an undrafted rookie in 2012. On Tuesday, the Eagles signed longtime Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin.
—Reported by Rob Maaddi.
Antonio Gates is sticking with the San Diego Chargers, agreeing to a two-year deal hours before the star tight end became an unrestricted free agent. The 2016 season will be Gates’ 14th with the Chargers. He signed as an undrafted rookie in 2003.
Gates was suspended for the first four games of 2015 after testing positive for a banned substance. Upon returning, he had 56 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns.
A person with direct knowledge of the agreement says free agent nose tackle Ian Williams has reached a new five-year deal to remain with the San Francisco 49ers.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract hadn’t been announced.
Williams has emerged as an important member in the middle of San Francisco’s once-stout defense, which lost linebacker Patrick Willis to retirement last March followed by Chris Borland and veteran defensive end Justin Smith.
— Reported by Janie McCauley.
The New York Giants are set to sign top free-agent cornerback Janoris Jenkins to a long-term contract.
Jenkins, one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks, expects to sign a five-year deal worth about $60 million later Wednesday. The free-agent signing period begins at 4 p.m. EST.
The move comes a day after the Giants agreed on a deal with unrestricted defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Jenkins’ signing will likely mean the end of Prince Amukamara’s Giants career. The former 2011 first-round cornerback was told by the Giants to test the open market.
The Pittsburgh Steelers signed right guard Ramon Foster to a three-year deal. Signed as a free-agent rookie in 2009, he is one of the team’s most dependable linemen.
“Not a bad career so far for an undrafted kid out of Tennessee,” he said on his Instagram account.
Others who re-signed with the Steelers this week include safety Robert Golden, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and cornerback William Gay.
The Dallas Cowboys are bringing back middle linebacker Rolando McClain for a third season.
The agency that represents McClain, Sports Trust Advisors, said in a tweet that the 26-year-old had agreed to a contract — one year at $5 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because terms weren’t released.
It’s New Year’s Day in the NFL, and free agency is under way.
A slew of signings is taking place from Miami to San Francisco, with teams signing free agents and also waiving players at a rate that will be hard to keep up with.
The official time teams can finalize free-agent signings is 4 p.m. ET.
But here comes the information we are gathering as player moves pick up steam.
Moves started early Wednesday, when Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson took a big pay cut to return to the NFC champions.
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