Pass rusher DeMarcus Ware got a $30 million, three-year contract from the Denver Broncos on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after being released by the Dallas Cowboys.
Not quite keeping pace with the nonstop nature of Day 1 of free agency, Day 2 did include the Buccaneers releasing cornerback Darrelle Revis after failing to trade him; wide receiver Eric Decker bolting Denver to sign with the New York Jets; receiver Golden Tate leaving the Super Bowl champion Seahawks to play alongside All-Pro Calvin Johnson with the Lions; and the Browns cutting two quarterbacks, Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.
The Revis move saved the Bucs a $1.5 million bonus that would have been due if he remained on the roster with his $16 million salary. It also freed up room under the cap for a continuing roster overhaul under new coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht.
With Broncos executive John Elway showing the same ability to close a deal that he did during his Hall of Fame career as a quarterback – and used two years ago to lure Peyton Manning to Denver – Ware’s first team visit resulted in a deal that includes $20 million in guaranteed money.
”It’s a perfect fit for me,” Ware said at a news conference.
He’ll pair with linebacker Von Miller to give AFC champion Denver a pair of quarterback chasers. Elway has been busy upgrading the defense during the first two days of the NFL’s free-agency period, adding cornerback Aqib Talib from the Patriots and safety T.J. Ward on Tuesday.
”Their mentality is a `now’ mentality,” Ware said about the Broncos. ”Not looking forward to next season or the season after that. The time is now.”
The 31-year-old Ware had 117 sacks and went to seven Pro Bowls in nine seasons with the Cowboys. He had a career-low six sacks last season, when he missed time with a thigh injury, then had offseason elbow surgery.
The Cowboys made another move to clear cap space Wednesday, jettisoning receiver Miles Austin, as expected, saving about $5.5 million. Austin’s release is effective June 1. And they signed free agent defensive linemen Terrell McClain and Jeremy Mincey.
Revis, meanwhile, spent only one season with the Bucs, who got him from the Jets for a 2013 first-round draft pick and a 2014 fourth-round choice.
If Revis had still been on Tampa Bay’s roster by 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the Bucs would have needed to upgrade that 2014 draft pick to a third-rounder. The Bucs already signed a topflight cornerback, former Titans player Alterraun Verner, on Tuesday, when they also brought aboard defensive end Michael Johnson, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and tight end Brandon Myers.
Decker spent all day Wednesday at the Jets’ facility and had dinner with a contingent of team officials, including coach Rex Ryan. He gives quarterback Geno Smith and the offense a sorely needed playmaker and No. 1-type wide receiver.
The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Decker, who’ll be 27 on Saturday, set career highs last season catching passes from Peyton Manning with 87 catches and 1,288 yards receiving to go along with 11 touchdowns. He had 85 receptions for 1,064 yards and a career-best 13 TDs in 2012.
Tampa Bay added a quarterback Wednesday by agreeing to a two-year contract with Josh McCown, a backup who got a chance to start five games last season for the Bears in place of an injured Jay Cutler.
A player expecting to be on the move soon was Carolina receiver Steve Smith, whose agent, Derrick Fox, told The Associated Press the five-time Pro Bowl pick ”is not going to play for the Panthers next year.” Fox said he expected Smith to get cut, although Carolina was trying to trade him.
In other news Wednesday:
-Yet another pass rusher became available when defensive end Chris Clemons was released by the Seahawks. Clemons was due to make $7.5 million in base salary next season. He is the fourth member of Seattle’s defense to be released or sign with another club as a free agent. Tate departs from the offense, getting a five-year deal worth $31 million with $13.25 million guaranteed, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
-Seattle did add a player finally, agreeing with former Jaguars receiver Taylor Price on a one-year deal. But it also lost guard Breno Giacomini to the Jets. New York also re-signed backup defensive lineman Leger Douzable to a one-year deal.
-Offensive lineman Rodger Saffold failed his physical and won’t sign a contract with Oakland. The Raiders agreed to a five-year, $42.5 million deal with $21.5 million in guarantees with Saffold shortly after the start of free agency on Tuesday. But the team said Wednesday night that Saffold did not pass his physical.
-Cornerback Corey Graham’s agent said on Twitter the player agreed to a four-year contract with the Bills, leaving the Ravens.
-Returner-receiver Jacoby Jones agreed to a four-year contract to stay with the Ravens.
-Linebacker Jon Beason agreed to stay with the Giants, who also re-signed kicker Josh Brown and safety Stevie Brown.
-Cornerback Eric Wright re-signed with the 49ers.
-Offensive lineman David Stewart was waived by the Titans after failing a physical. Tennessee also signed former Steelers defensive lineman Al Woods to a multiyear deal.
-Saints running back Pierre Thomas agreed to a two-year contract extension.
-Miami defensive tackle Randy Starks signed a $12 million, two-year contract.
-Tight end David Johnson joined the Chargers from Pittsburgh, which re-signed safety Will Allen, long snapper Greg Warren and offensive lineman Cody Wallace.
-Former Seahawks safety Chris Maragos and former Texans linebacker Bryan Braman joined the Eagles.
-Linebacker Dekoda Watson went to the Jaguars from the Bucs.
-Former Rams guard Chris Williams went to the Bills – then joked he was prepared to go anywhere to get a chance to play.
”I’d go to Antarctica,” Williams said. ”But Buffalo’s a lot better than Antarctica, so I’m just excited to be here.”
AP Sports Writers Tim Booth, Tom Canavan, Fred Goodall, Pat Graham, Larry Lage, Janie McCauley, Steve Reed, John Wawrow, Steven Wine and Tom Withers contributed to this report.
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