Texans woo Ed Reed, but no deal yet — 11:15 p.m. ET
The Houston Texans gave safety Ed Reed the star treatment on Thursday. Now they have to hope it worked.
The 34-year-old Reed met with the Texans at Reliant Stadium after flying to Houston from Atlanta in the morning aboard team owner Bob McNair’s private jet.
The move was tweeted by the team and then Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips tweeted that he was meeting with the Ravens veteran in his office, too.
But no deal was finalized Thursday night. Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, is the Ravens’ franchise leader in interceptions with 61 and his 1,541 return yards with those pickoffs is an NFL career record. He was the NFL’s top defensive player in 2004 after setting an NFL record for interception return yards (358), a mark broken by New Orleans’ safety Darren Sharper in 2009. — The Associated Press
Bucs add five to the fold — 11:10 p.m. ET
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed free agent linebacker Jonathan Casillas and receiver Kevin Ogletree, while also reaching agreements to keep three of their own players.
Casillas is a fifth-year pro who spent the past four seasons with NFC South rival New Orleans. He started eight of 38 games he appeared in with the Saints, with three sacks and two fumble recoveries. Ogletree was a backup with the Dallas Cowboys the past four seasons, appearing in 46 games and making 57 catches for 730 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bucs also announced deals to keep restricted free agent running back LeGarrette Blount, exclusive rights free agent defensive tackle Corvey Irvin and tendered restricted free agent defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. — AP
LB Brinkley goes to Cards — 9:50 p.m. ET
Jasper Brinkley’s return to the Minnesota Vikings seemed unlikely even as Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman said he was interested in re-signing all of the team’s unrestricted free agents.
Brinkley found his next home Thursday when he agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, according to the team’s website. Brinkley, 27, was a full-time starter for the first time in his four-year career last season with the Vikings, tallying 63 tackles and three forced fumbles as Minnesota’s starting middle linebacker.
Brinkley tweeted a goodbye to Vikings fans Thursday evening: "Thanks to everyone in MN for all the support over my last four years, It really was a blessing to play with some great guys n great fans." — Fox Sports North
Titans bring back Reynaud — 7:53 p.m. ET
The Tennessee Titans have re-signed their kick returner Darius Reynaud to a one-year contract.
The Titans announced the deal Thursday.
Reynaud joined the Titans last year as a free agent and wound up handling both punt and kick returns after Marc Mariani broke his leg in the preseason.
Reynaud returned two punts for touchdowns and a kickoff for a third TD, and he ranked third in the NFL averaging 13.2 yards on punt returns. He also was the AFC special teams player for September. — AP
Eagles land Barwin — 7:54 p.m. ET
The Eagles remain busy in free agency, signing free agent outside linebacker Connor Barwin to a reported 6-year, $36 million deal on Thursday.
Barwin had a breakout season in 2011, where the former University of Cincinnati start recorded 11 sacks for the AFC South Texans. His 2012 numbers decreased across the board, where without DeMeco Ryans, Mario Williams, or Brian Cushing in the Texans lineup, he recorded just 3 sacks.
At 26-years-old, he joins an Eagles defense that already added former Giants safety Kenny Phillips earlier Thursday afternoon. — Peter Schrager
Saints sign Lewis — 5:31 p.m. ET
Former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis signed a 5-year, $26 million deal with his hometown New Orleans Saints on Thursday. The deal, first reported by Sean Jensen, includes $10.5 million guaranteed. Lewis joins a New Orleans Saints defense that surrendered the most yards in NFL history a season ago.
Lewis started all 16 games for the Steeelers in 2012 and played in all 16 in 2011. A four-year veteran out of Oregon State, he’ll join Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense as one of the starting cornerbacks in New Orleans. — Peter Schrager
Bears sign Collins
The Chicago Bears say they have signed defensive tackle Nate Collins to a one-year contract.
Collins played in nine games with Chicago last season, recording 13 tackles. He has appeared in 22 games over three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Bears and has 23 tackles in his career.
The Bears announced the move on Thursday. — AP
Falcons land Steven Jackson — 4:35 p.m. ET
An already potent Atlanta Falcons offense just got even stouter.
The Falcons have agreed to a free-agent contract with former St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson.
The Falcons have made re-signing their own players the main focus of offseason personnel moves the past few years, but the team was in need of a starting running back after releasing Michael Turner. One of the NFL’s most physical rushers, the Falcons are counting on the 6-foot-2, 250-pound Jackson providing the same hard-charging style that Turner did the previous five seasons in Atlanta.
Jackson, 29, has rushed for at least 1,000 yards the past eight seasons for St. Louis. Jackson, a 2004 first-round draft pick, opted out of the final year of his Rams contract to test the free-agent market. Read more — Alex Marvez
Eagles improve secondary — 4:33 p.m. ET
The Philadelphia Eagles signed two veteran defensive backs to help shore up their ailing secondary on Thursday.
Former New York Giants safety Kenny Phillips and former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Cary Williams both inked deals. Phillips signed a one-year contract, while the deal with Williams is a three-year deal. The Eagles announced the signings on their teams’ Twitter feed.
Phillips, a former first round pick for the New York Giants, played in just seven games in 2012 due to knee injuries, but has been a prominent part of the Giants defense since being selected out of Miami in 2008. Cary Williams stepped up as a starter on the Ravens Super Bowl team when Lardarius Webb went down with an injury, and thus was rewarded handsomely with a three-year, $17 million deal, including $10.5 million guaranteed, from the Eagles. Read more — Peter Schrager
Backus calls it quits — 4:12 p.m. ET
One of the NFL’s most durable players has called it a career.
The Detroit Lions announced Thursday that left tackle Jeff Backus is retiring.
The 35-year-old Backus missed only one start since being Detroit’s first-round pick in 2001. That game came in Week 12 last season against Houston.
The Lions will now be fielding two new starting tackles in 2013 with Backus gone and right tackle Gosder Cherilus signing a free-agent contract with Indianapolis. Riley Reiff, a 2012 first-round pick, could man one of those spots for Detroit. — Alex Marvez
Beanie meeting with Steelers
Running back Chris “Beanie” Wells could have a chance to resurrect his once promising NFL career in Pittsburgh.
On his Twitter account (@BeanieWells26), Wells confirmed that he was heading to meet with Steelers officials.
A 2009 first-round draft pick by Arizona, Wells has battled injuries throughout his four-year NFL career. He was released earlier this week by the Cardinals. His best season came in 2011 with a 1,047-yard rushing campaign with 10 touchdowns.
If signed, the 24-year-old Wells could potentially become a Steelers starter. Ex-Steelers starter Rashard Mendenhall signed earlier this week with Arizona.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported that Wells was meeting Thursday with the Steelers. — Alex Marvez
Jean-Francois to Colts — 3:41 p.m. ET
The Indianapolis Colts, one of the most active teams this week, added another piece to their 3-4 defense on Thursday.
Former San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois to a reported 4-year, $22.5 million contract. The Colts announced the signing on their team website.
Francois is a 26-year-old, 6-3, 295 versatile piece for the Indianapolis defense. He showed his abilities late last season, filling in for All-Pro Justin Smith when the 49ers star went down with an injury.
For as busy as the Colts have been this week in free agency, Jean-Francois is the first addition to a defensive line that finished 29th against the run last season. Indianapolis has already added safety LaRon Landry, linebacker Erik Walden, and cornerback Greg Toler to the roster this off-season. — Peter Schrager
Glazer: Cassel to Vikings — 3:37 p.m. ET
Looks like Matt Cassel won’t be a free agent for long.
Cassel, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday morning, has been signed by the Minnesota Vikings.
The decision to release Cassel came just a day after new head coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey staged a news conference to introduce Alex Smith.
Cassel played in nine games last season and brings his nine years of experience to a very green crop of QBs in Minnesota.
Christian Ponder, the starting quarterback, was backed up by Joe Webb and McLeod Bethel-Thompson last season.
Chiefs agree to deal with Smith — 2 p.m. ET
The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to terms with cornerback Sean Smith on a three-year deal to help shore up the secondary.
Smith has spent the past four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, starting every game each of the past two years. He has 177 tackles and five interceptions in his career.
The Chiefs have been bold players in free agency under new general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid, revamping their offense by trading for quarterback Alex Smith and signing wide receiver Donnie Avery, tight end Anthony Fasano and backup quarterback Alex Smith.
They’ve also signed defensive tackle Mike DeVito and veteran cornerback Dunta Robinson, who is expected to provide depth. But the addition of Smith solidifies the cornerback spot opposite Brandon Flowers. — AP
Redskins sign Trueblood — 12:45 p.m. ET
The Washington Redskins have signed free agent offensive lineman Jeremy Trueblood, giving the team another inexpensive contender for the vacant right tackle position.
Trueblood has started 84 games over seven NFL seasons, all with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He lost his starting job after one game last year and finished the season on injured reserve.
Tyler Polumbus was the starter at right tackle last year for the Redskins, but he is an unrestricted free agent.
With little money available under the salary cap, the Redskins are in search of bargains to fill out their roster. They also recently signed veteran right tackle Tony Pashos, who was out of the NFL last year with a foot injury. — AP
Browns reach deal with Ogbonnaya — 1:23 p.m. ET
The Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms with running back Chris Ogbonnaya on a two-year contract.
Ogbonnaya made one start and played in 15 games last season, usually replacing Trent Richardson on third down. He finished with 24 receptions for 187 yards and gained 30 yards on eight carries. He made a career-high six receptions for 73 receiving yards in a win at Cincinnati, and had a career-long 54-yard reception against the New York Giants
Unfortunately, his most notable moment may have been when he lined up as the eighth player on the line of scrimmage and was penalized, nullifying a touchdown pass in Cleveland’s 25-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Ogbonnaya was signed by the Browns in 2011 and started four games. — AP
Cassel waived by Chiefs — 10:45 a.m. ET
The NFL’s weak class of free-agent quarterbacks has a new addition – Matt Cassel.
Kansas City waived their former starting quarterback on Thursday morning, the team announced.
Cassel’s departure from the Chiefs was considered inevitable. Kansas City completed a trade with San Francisco for new starter Alex Smith earlier this week and signed New Orleans Saints backup Chase Daniel in free agency.
Cassel, 30, was acquired via trade by Kansas City in 2009 after a solid season replacing an injured Tom Brady in New England. Cassel’s best year came in 2010 when he threw 27 touchdowns with just seven interceptions as the Chiefs made the playoffs.
Cassel, though, failed to duplicate such success in an injury-shortened 2011 campaign and lost his starting job to Brady Quinn midway through last season.
Cassel should have appeal to teams seeking a seasoned backup quarterback a la Ryan Fitzpatrick, who also is on the market after being released Tuesday by Buffalo. The NFL Network reported that the release of former Arizona starter Kevin Kolb is imminent as well. — Alex Marvez
Asomugha in town to meet Niners — 10:11 a.m. ET
As first reported by Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, veteran free-agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is in San Francisco today, visiting with the 49ers. Asomugha, formerly of the Eagles and Raiders, was released by Philadelphia one hour before the start of the 2013 NFL free-agent signing period.
Once considered the top shutdown cornerback in the NFL, Asomugha struggled in his two years spent as an Eagle. At 6-2, 210 pounds, the 31-year-old Asomugha starred at the University of California-Berkeley. He was a four-time All-Pro with the Oakland Raiders and won the “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award in 2009.
The 49ers have also met with safeties Louis Delmas and Charles Woodson this week. — Peter Schrager
McClure hanging up cleats — 9:17 a.m. ET
Atlanta Falcons center Todd McClure’s 14-year NFL career is coming to an end.
McClure, who played his entire career with the Falcons, announced his retirement Wednesday night on Twitter (@ToddMcclure62).
A retirement news conference is expected late next week.
McClure, 36, has only missed four starts since the 2001 season.
The Falcons are expected to shift 2012 second-round pick Peter Konz to center with Garrett Reynolds starting at right guard. Reynolds was re-signed to a two-year contract before the start of free agency. — Alex Marvez
Texans pushing hard for Reed — 8:55 a.m. ET
The Houston Texans are pulling out all the stops to try and sign Baltimore free-agent safety Ed Reed.
On the team’s official Twitter account (@HoustonTexans), the Texans announced that general manager Rick Smith was taking owner Bob McNair’s private jet to pick up Reed for his visit to Houston.
A future Hall of Fame safety, Reed has played his entire 11-year NFL career with the Ravens. Reed, though, is 34 years old and Baltimore is making significant roster changes even coming off a Super Bowl XLVII victory over San Francisco.
The ball-hawking Reed would serve as a replacement for Glover Quin, who left the Texans for Detroit on Thursday in free agency.
The Texans are the first visit Reed has taken since the free-agent signing period opened Tuesday. — Alex Marvez
Pack’s Jennings to meet with Vikings — 8:00 a.m. ET
The top unsigned wide receiver finally has a free-agent visit planned – and it’s in enemy territory.
Green Bay’s Greg Jennings is meeting Thursday with the Minnesota Vikings, a source confirmed to FOXSports.com.
Jennings would greatly upgrade a wide receiver corps that lost its best player when Percy Harvin was traded earlier this week to Seattle. Jennings, 29, has proven one of the NFL’s top deep threats during his seven seasons in Green Bay.
However, Jennings is coming off an injury-plagued 2012 season. His asking price at the start of free agency also proved more than the market would bear, the source said.
Green Bay has spoken with Jennings about potentially re-signing him although the team has a deep group of wide receivers that includes Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones.
ESPN first reported news of Jennings’ visit. — Alex Marvez