Keep up with all the latest free-agent signing in the NFL.
USA TODAY Sports
NFL free agency is almost here, but the news on possible destinations for top free agents is already flying as the league’s official tampering period has started.
Stay here throughout free agency for all the latest.
Peppers going home
Julius Peppers, the NFL’s active sack leader with 143½, has rejoined the Carolina Panthers, according to a social media post from his, agent Carl Carey.
Quick take: Peppers amassed 81 sacks in his first eight NFL seasons with Carolina, before leaving as a free agent in 2010. He played four seasons in Chicago and the last three in Green Bay. Peppers, 37, was a situational player for the Packers, and joins a Panthers defense that is looking to rebound in 2017. This appears to be a smart football move, with Peppers having a chance to contribute as a pass rush specialist on an already stacked defensive line.
— Lindsay H. Jones
Report: Cousins saying he’ll be 49er
The latest twist in the Kirk Cousins saga has the Washington Redskins quarterback telling someone close to him, “I’m going to be a 49er,” per a report from The Sporting News.
Quick take: Cousins signed his $24 million franchise tag Friday, which still wouldn’t prevent Washington from trading the apparently disgruntled passer. But unless the Redskins are willing to tag him for more than $34 million in 2018, there won’t be much impeding Cousins — other than another season in burgundy and gold — from eventually reuniting with Kyle Shanahan in The Bay Area. The growing question is whether the Redskins will proactively try to move Cousins or potentially lose him for nothing down the road. But if he’s willing to wait a year, there’s little incentive for San Francisco to offer much, namely the draft’s No. 2 pick, in return.
Amukamara on the move
The Chicago Bears have a deal with cornerback Prince Amukamara, per ESPN.
Quick take: Chicago continues to be active and bolsters an underrated defense that could blossom in 2017 with some support from the Mike Glennon-led offense. A former first-round pick who’s split his career between the Giants and Jags, Amukamara is the kind of big corner who matches up well with NFC North receivers.
Cook done in Green Bay?
The Packers have ended contract talks with tight end Jared Cook, per ESPN.
Quick take: Cook’s return to the lineup last season coincided with the Pack’s second-half surge to the NFC North crown, and his sublime catch in the divisional round of the playoffs set up the game-winning field goal over the Cowboys. He brought an element to the offense that had been lacking since Jermichael Finley’s premature retirement, and Aaron Rodgers lobbied for his return. But perhaps GM Ted Thompson is hoping to fill the position in the draft, which is unusually loaded with talent at the position.
Hayes on move
The Los Angeles Rams agreed to trade their only player older than new coach Sean McVay, 31-year-old defensive end William Hayes, to the Miami Dolphins. “Will has been an integral member of our defense since he became a Ram in 2012,” said Rams GM Les Snead. “His passion set the tone for our defense and served as an example for his teammates. Off the field, he showed compassion as he was a major contributor to the St. Louis and Los Angeles communities, working to improve the plight of the homeless. We wish Will and his family the best of luck in all of his future endeavors.”
Quick take: Miami’s pass rush should be solid in 2017, with Hayes joining fellow vets Cameron Wake and Andre Branch. The Rams, meanwhile, upgrade a seventh-round pick to a sixth rounder.
Titans bolster secondary
Cornerback Logan Ryan has reached an agreement to join the Tennessee Titans, his agent wrote on Twitter.
Quick take: Ryan became expendable after the Patriots agreed to terms with Stephon Gilmore. Tennessee had been relatively quiet in free agency, but in adding Ryan and safety Jonathan Cyprien, they addressed their big need in the secondary. Ryan gives the Titans a physical cornerback who can also contribute in stopping the run game.
Barkley lands in San Francisco
Quarterback Matt Barkley has reached a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: Barkley joins former Chicago Bears teammate Brian Hoyer in San Francisco as the team starts from scratch at quarterback. Working with Kyle Shanahan could be a serious help for the young quarterback, who had some success in his late-season work but also had a turnover spree in his final three games.
DT Williams staying with Ravens
Defensive tackle Brandon Williams agreed to a five-year deal to remain with the Baltimore Ravens, his agency posted on Twitter. The deal is worth $54 million with $27.5 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: Williams was the top 3-4 nose tackle on the market, and keeping him holds together a defense that finished No. 2 again the run last year. But he doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher, and the Ravens need a boost in that area – especially after releasing veteran linebacker Elvis Dumervil. The cost also might be a little high given the Ravens had a promising player in Michael Pierce behind him.
Brock Osweiler heads to Browns in trade
The Houston Texans have traded Brock Osweiler and a 2018 second-round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns, a person familiar with the deal told USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero.
Quick take: This was the big stunner of the day Thursday, and it will take a while for the smoke to clear. The Texans now can get a fresh start by cutting ties with the quarterback they signed just last year and save $16 million in the process, possibly clearing the way for a Tony Romo trade. The Browns get a valued pick by eating Osweiler’s contract, even if it seems unlikely that he will ever play for them.
Tony Romo trade still possible?
The Dallas Cowboys now expect to trade Tony Romo to either the Houston Texans or Denver Broncos, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. But NFL Network’s James Palmer reported the Broncos were not pursuing a trade for Romo.
Romo also posted a message to Instagram saying goodbye to Cowboys fans.
Quick take: USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero wrote Thursday: “The Cowboys have been trying to trade quarterback Tony Romo, but they keep running into the same problems. Nobody wants to give up a lot in terms of picks or players and take on Romo’s contract, which includes a $14 million salary next year.” If Romo is willing to restructure his deal, it could make at least one of those obstacles less imposing.
Chargers add help for Rivers
Offensive tackle Russell Okung agreed to a four-year deal worth $53 million with $25 million guaranteed, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero.
Quick take: The guaranteed money is important for Okung after he negotiated a deal without any last year while acting as his own agent. Still, he can provide aid for a Chargers front that left Philip Rivers vulnerable last season.
Jones re-ups with Dolphins
Safety Reshad Jones signed a five-year extension with the Miami Dolphins, the team announced Thursday. The deal is worth $60 million, according to ESPN.
Quick take: Jones is one of the NFL’s top safeties, though his season was derailed by a torn rotator cuff last year. He briefly held out last offseason before returning to action, so Miami now has satisfied one of its top defensive playmakers.
Ravens add Woodhead, Jefferson
The Baltimore Ravens officially announced deals Thursday for safety Tony Jefferson (four years) and running back Danny Woodhead (three years). Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett will also re-sign for the 2017 season. All deals are pending the passing of a physical. In addition, the Ravens picked up wideout Mike Wallace’s 2017 contract option.
Quick take: Jefferson should solidify the safety position, which former first-round pick Matt Elam failed to do. Woodhead is an excellent receiver who is likely to spell Terrance West on passing downs. Kenneth Dixon’s four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy will mean more work for both Woodhead and West in the season’s first month.
Joeckel heads west
Luke Joeckel, the second overall pick of the 2013 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, agreed to become a Seattle Seahawk in hopes of rebooting his disappointing career.
Quick take: Seattle needs line help, and Joeckel has experience at both tackle spots and guard. He’s exactly the kind of reclamation project assistant Tom Cable might turn into a huge asset for a team that needs blocking help.
Reiff stays in NFC North
Tackle Riley Reiff is leaving the Detroit Lions to join the Minnesota Vikings.
Quick take: Reiff is solid and reliable and could man either tackle spot for a Minnesota line that was decimated by injuries in 2016.
Eagles bolster receiving corps with Jeffery
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery agreed to a one-year, $14 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, a person familiar with the deal told USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero.
Quick take: Philadelphia needed an upgrade at the skill positions, and it just added the most promising wide receiver on the open market. Jeffery needs to stay healthy and avoid suspension, but he offers a No. 1-caliber target for Carson Wentz. With Torrey Smith in the fold as well, the Eagles should have more of a downfield threat than they did in previous seasons.
Jaguars add CB Bouye
The Jacksonville Jaguars reached a deal with cornerback A.J. Bouye, a person familiar with the deal told USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero.
Quick take: An already-imposing defense is looking even more fearsome after the addition of defensive end Calais Campbell and Bouye. By pairing Bouye with Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars now have one of the league’s best set of starting cornerbacks. The departure is a hit for the Texans, but they still have Johnathan Joseph, Kevin Johnson and Kareem Jackson at the position, though injuries were an issue last season and helped facilitate Bouye’s rise.
Jaguars land DE Campbell
Defensive end Calais Campbell agreed to a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a person familiar with the move told USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero.
Quick take: The Jaguars fended off the Broncos for the former Arizona Cardinals star and once again made a big splash in free agency. At 6-8, 300 pounds, Campbell brings a massive, run-stuffing presence to the Jaguars’ front. But he also has shown he can rush the passer (eight sacks last season) and brings a veteran presence to a young defense.
Zeitler nets huge deal with Browns
Offensive guard Kevin Zeitler is signing a five-year deal worth $60 million with $31.5 million guaranteed, a person familiar with the contract told USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero.
Quick take: One year after allowing a league-high 66 sacks, the Browns are starting their rebuild up front. Cleveland now has one of the league’s most impressive pair of young guards after signing Joel Bitonio to a six-year extension and adding Zeitler to a deal that would make him the highest paid at the position. The team also is signing J.C. Tretter,
Leary to Broncos, setting table for Romo?
The Denver Broncos have reached a four-year, $36 million agreement with Ronald Leary, one of the best guards on the free agent market, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: Leary was a starter on the vaunted Dallas Cowboys offensive line for the past four years and was actually sought in the trade market last year. However La’El Collins’ toe injury caused Dallas to keep Leary, who started 12 games for the NFC East champions. It’s worth wondering if his move to Denver is a signal that another Cowboy, Tony Romo, could be on the next plane to the Mile High City. It would seem an improved offensive line would be a prerequisite if the Broncos are going to take on the injury-prone quarterback.
Cousins wants out?
Nothing like having a franchise player who doesn’t want any part of the franchise. But that’s apparently what’s going in Washington, where quarterback Kirk Cousins asked Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to trade, per ESPN.
Quick take: This really shouldn’t come as a shock given Washington’s reluctance to sign Cousins, who was slapped with the franchise tag for the second straight year, to a long-term deal. And as additional stories paint a picture of front office dysfunction, it appears this club is in danger of falling back into disarray. Stay tuned.
Fairley staying with Saints
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley is remaining with the New Orleans Saints on a four-year deal, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: New Orleans is badly in need of boosting its pass rush, and keeping Fairley might have helped its cause. Fairley had 6.5 sacks last year and gives the team a formidable presence inside with 2016 first-round pick Sheldon Rankins. Now the team has to find a weapon opposite Cameron Jordan at defensive end.
Cardinals find replacement at safety
Safety Antoine Bethea has reached a three-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, according to The Arizona Republic.
Quick take: Bethea fills the void left by the expected departure of safety Tony Jefferson. Bethea, 32, isn’t the all-around athlete and versatile threat that Jefferson is, but he brings strong leadership to the defense. He’s also familiar with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians after their time together on the Colts.
Eagles add deep threat
Wideout Torrey Smith will join the Philadelphia Eagles on a three-year deal. NFL Network reports it’s worth up to $15 million.
Quick take: This offense needed more weapons for Carson Wentz but didn’t have the luxury of much cap space. Smith is a nice addition who doesn’t break the bank. His deep speed will certainly stretch defenses — and Wentz has the arm to hit him long — and open up space underneath for receivers like Jordan Matthews and tight end Zach Ertz.
D-Jax goes with Bucs
DeSean Jackson joined the Tampa Buccaneers on Thursday.
Jackson played the last three seasons with the Washington Redskins, who apparently will be left without their top two receivers with San Francisco 49ers luring away Pierre Garcon.
Quick take: Jackson would join Mike Evans to give quarterback Jameis Winston one of the most potent receiver combos in the league. Vincent Jackson, who helped mentor Evans, is a free agent after his five-year deal expired and is not expected to return to the Bucs after two injury-filled seasons.
Browns land Britt
Wideout Kenny Britt will join the Cleveland Browns on a four-year, $32.5 million deal, per multiple reports.
Quick take: With Terrelle Pryor apparently headed for the open market, the Browns at least add a player with similar production and ability. Britt caught 68 passes for 1,002 yards last year for the Los Angeles Rams, while Pryor had 77 catches for 1,007 yards.
Suitor for Charles?
NFL Network reports there is “mutual interest” between the Seattle Seahawks and former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
Quick take: Seattle struggled to establish its usually dominant running game last year due to O-line issues, Marshawn Lynch’s retirement, and injuries to Thomas Rawls and others. Coming off two seasons stunted by knee injuries, Charles is no longer a bellcow, but his ability as a receiver might make him something special as a third-down back if he can remain healthy.
Brothers unite in Carolina
The Carolina Panthers have an agreement with former Minnesota Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil for five years and $55.5 million, including $25 million guaranteed.
Quick take: The move brings Kalil together with his brother, Panthers Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil, while stabilizing a line that struggled last year with injuries, including a concussion that kept Michael Oher sidelined much of the season.
Whitworth on move
Free agent tackle Andrew Whitworth will join the Los Angeles Rams, his agents told USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero. The three-year deal has a maximum value of $36 million with $15 million guaranteed. Whitworth, 35, had spent the entirety of his 11-season NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Quick take: Whitworth should stabilize quarterback Jared Goff’s blind side, an area where former first-round pick Greg Robinson has struggled mightily.
Packers keeping Perry on monster deal
Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Nick Perry is re-signing with the team on a five-year, $60 million deal. The contract pays him $20.8 million in the first year and has a $18.5 million signing bonus.
Quick take: Those are the kind of numbers you can net when you’re the top pass rusher in a sparse class at the position. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Tom Silverstein calls Perry the team’s “priority in free agency.” Perry had a career-high 11 sacks in 2016 and should form a nice edge tandem with Clay Matthews for the foreseeable future.
Eagles cut Barwin
The Philadelphia Eagles announced Thursday that they have cut pass rusher Connor Barwin.
Quick take: Barwin, 30, spent the last four seasons with the Eagles and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2014, a season he compiled a career-high 14½ sacks. His production has dropped over the last two seasons where he had 12 sacks combined, something that could have been attributed to a change in the scheme under new coordinator Jim Schwartz. The Eagles will lose a fan favorite and a locker room leader, but the move opens up $7.75 million in cap space.
Gilmore, Patrios are close to lengthy deal
The New England Patriots are close to signing cornerback Stephon Gilmore, according to multiple reports.
Gilmore, 26, had a career year in 2015 with five interceptions and was tapped for the Pro Bowl.
Quick take: The Patriots aren’t usually among the league’s biggest players in free agency, but the Super Bowl champs have the cap space. The signing of Gilmore could mean free agent Logan Ryan won’t be brought back to New England.
Ravens zeroing in on Jefferson
The Baltimore Ravens are expected to sign safety Tony Jefferson barring any late developments, according to ESPN.
Quick take: The Ravens are getting a much-needed infusion of youth on defense. Jefferson, 25, is a versatile talent and was the top safety on the market. He gives Baltimore a playmaker who can help keep up with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ many weapons. For the Cardinals, Jefferson’s departure is another tough blow to a promising defense.
Dolphins keeping WR Stills
The Miami Dolphins are keeping wide receiver Kenny Stills on a four-year deal worth $32 million, according to multiple reports.
Quick take: Stills might have been a hot target for other teams looking for a deep threat, and he should remain an important part of Adam Gase’s offense. He fits well with Jarvis Landry and Devante Parker, giving Ryan Tannehill a formidable receiving corps for the near future.
Report: 49ers to land LB Malcolm Smith
Oakland Raiders linebacker Malcolm Smith is expected to make a jump to the other Bay Area team by joining the San Francisco 49ers at the start of free agency, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: San Francisco badly needs reinforcements on a defense that ranked last in the NFL in 2016. New defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s 4-3 scheme demands speed from its linebackers, and the Super Bowl XLVIII MVP fits that bill. So far, new general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan appear to be favoring low-cost upgrades rather than splashy signings.
Report: Patriots land TE Allen in trade
The New England Patriots acquired tight end Dwayne Allen in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts, according to ESPN.
Quick take: Allen’s arrival likely spells the end of impending free agent Martellus Bennett’s time in New England, as he gives the Patriots another weapon to pair with Rob Gronkowski. Jack Doyle now should have an even bigger role in Indianapolis after re-signing with the team, but the Colts also could look to a deep tight end draft class for a No. 2 threat at the position.
Report: Hoyer to 49ers
Brian Hoyer agreed to a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: Hoyer could be the ideal bridge quarterback for new coach Kyle Shanahan, who coached the veteran in 2014 as offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns. He can hold down a starting position until the team is ready to turn to a younger option, and Shanahan and new general manager John Lynch can be more discerning about when and how they invest long-term for the position. This could also be a blow to the Jets, who likely have dwindling options for a veteran quarterback.
Bills keeping Taylor
The Buffalo Bills announced Wednesday they had agreed to a restructured deal with quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Quick take: The quarterback market is taking shape, as one fewer team has a need behind center and one fewer established veteran will be available on the open market. For the Bills, this offers the path of least resistance. Picking up Taylor’s massive option (the QB would have earned $27.5 million in 2017) was likely too off-putting, but starting from scratch with a rookie or bridge quarterback would have made new coach Sean McDermott’s job that much more imposing.
Report: Church to Jags
Safety Barry Church is leaving the Dallas Cowboys to sign a four-year, $22 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: Church will replace Johnathan Cyprien on a talented defense that made great strides in 2016. It’s a blow for the Cowboys, who could also lose both of their starting cornerbacks in free agency.
Ravens release LB Dumervil
The Balitmore Ravens are releasing five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Elvis Dumervil, according to NFL Network. Dumervil confirmed
Quick take: The Ravens have needed to get younger on defense for some time, and Dumervil is the latest to go. The 33-year-old played in just eight games last season and had three sacks for the team in 2016. He could catch on with a team looking for a pass rushing specialist. The Ravens, meanwhile, could be looking to address the position in the draft, especially with Terrell Suggs turning 35 next season.
Cardinals pay up for LB
The Arizona Cardinals are finalizing a “large” five-year contract for outside linebacker Chandler Jones, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: Having Jones play on a long-term deal rather than the franchise tag will almost certainly lower his cap hold, which was set to be $14.55 million had he played on the tender. For a team that with impending free agents defensive end Calaias Campbell and safety Tony Jefferson, among others, this move provides needed flexibility in the short term.
Lions grab Ravens OL
The Detroit Lions agreed to a deal in principle with former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Ricky Wagner, a person with knowledge of the agreement told USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal could not be officially executed until the start of free agency on Thursday.
Quick take: Wagner could help boost a run game that ranked 30th in the NFL last year. He also serves as a replacement to former first-round pick Riley Reiff, who’s set to hit free agency.
McCown, Cowboys talking
Backup quarterback Josh McCown is talking with the Cowboys, according to ESPN.com and confirmed by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Quick take: Jerry Jones might want to keep Tony Romo on the roster but he knows that is not best for his franchise. And he is obviously seems to be coming around to the idea Kellen Moore doesn’t cut it as the backup, either.
Marshall staying in New York
Six-time Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall says he has a deal with the New York Giants. The two sides met Wednesday morning and agreed to a two-year that maxes out at $12 million deal, a person with knowledge of the talks told Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because of the nature of the talks.
Quick take: This is another signal that the Giants are in win-now mode. Quarterback Eli Manning is 36, and his window likely won’t be open much longer. Marshall is 32 and desperate to win — in his 11 NFL seasons, he’s never reached the playoffs. The Giants also needed to get better in the red zone. Manning tied for 15th among starting quarterbacks in 2016 with only 10 passing touchdowns inside the 20. Teamed with Odell Beckham’s raw athleticism, Marshall should be one of Manning’s first looks near the goal line at 6- and 230 pounds. The Giants love playing out of three-receiver sets so the group of Beckham, Marshall, and Sterling Shepherd should keep this passing attack formidable.
— Lorenzo Reyes
Garcon to 49ers?
Chiefs TE arrested
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris was arrested in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday on two-drug related charges, according to online police records.
Harris, 25, faces a felony marijuana possession charge along with a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested after an SUV he was a passenger in was stopped for speeding and the officer “noticed the odor of marijuana,” Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesperson Sgt. Bill Lowe told USA TODAY Sports. “He was very cooperative,” Lowe said.
Harris was transported to the Bates County Jail, where was eventually released.
Harris, an undrafted free agent in 2014, has played three seasons with the Chiefs and started 11 games in 2016. He’s entering the second year of a three-deal $6.3 million deal.
— A.J. Perez
Redskins re-sign TE
Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY Sports confirms it is a three-year deal.
Seahawks have no interest in Peterson for now
Adrian Peterson’s father says the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders are his son’s two most likely destinations. But Peterson might have to wait awhile to land in either spot.
A person with knowledge of the Seahawks’ thinking told USA TODAY Sports that they have no immediate interest in Peterson. The Seahawks have shown in the past they’ll revisit if a veteran is sitting on the market and the price comes down.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have been high on Peterson’s wish list from go, based on their offensive line, quarterback and scheme. But will they pay a veteran back or just draft one?
They already let Latavius Murray – who’s almost five years younger than Peterson – reach the negotiating window. And this is widely regarded as a very deep running back class, which general manager Reggie McKenzie might believe can fill the void with young, cheap labor.
Don’t count out Peterson returning to the Minnesota Vikings, who let him hit the market by declining his $18 million option last week in a move that was really a formality. The Vikings’ top priority is offensive line help, though.
— Tom Pelissero
Texans face AFC South competition for CB Bouye
The Houston Texans could be in for a bidding war, as the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts are expected to push for the services of cornerback A.J. Bouye, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Quick take: Losing Bouye would be a blow for Houston, but having to face him twice a year would be that much more agonizing. Both the Titans and Jaguars have ample salary cap space, so keeping Bouye could prove difficult. Tennessee could address a problem area in its secondary with Bouye, while Jacksonville could pair him with standout Jalen Ramsey.
Rams listening to offers for CB Trumaine Johnson
The Los Angeles Rams are listening to trade offers for franchise-tagged cornerback Trumaine Johnson, according to ESPN.
Quick take: Johnson is set to make $16.74 million this season, more than any other cornerback, so gauging his value makes sense. But the Rams are in a tough spot here. They lack a cornerback elsewhere on the roster who has the size and consistency to hold up in coverage on the outside like Johnson. New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme usually requires a formidable presence in the secondary as well. But dealing Johnson could net a draft pick or two after the trade to move up for Jared Goff sapped the team’s assets.
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