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Great day for Falcs — even if … — 11:04 p.m. ET
Atlanta didn’t sign any free agents from other teams Tuesday, but it still was an incredibly successful day for the Falcons.
The day began with news that future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez would return for one final NFL season, and ended with left tackle Sam Baker agreeing to a six-year contract extension.
Financial terms weren’t immediately available.
The returns of Gonzalez and Baker were first reported by FOXSports.com.
A 2008 first-round draft pick, the 27-year-old Baker was considered one of the top free-agent offensive linemen on the market. After struggling in 2011, Baker rebounded with a quality season last season as the Falcons reached the NFC Championship game.
Re-signing Gonzalez and Baker fits into general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s modus operandi of making the franchise’s top priority keeping his own players in the fold.
The Falcons also re-signed strong safety William Moore last week before he was set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Atlanta’s next priority is trying to re-sign cornerback Brent Grimes to a new contract. Grimes, who was Atlanta’s franchise player in 2012, missed all but one game last season after tearing his Achilles’ tendon in the season-opener. — Alex Marvez
Broncos, Vickerson agree — 9:48 p.m. ET
The Denver Broncos on Tuesday agreed to terms on re-signing defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson to a two-year contract, executive VP of football operations John Elway announced.
Vickerson, who is entering his ninth season, set career highs in games played (16) and starts (14) in 2012, helping anchor a Broncos run defense that allowed the second-fewest yards per game (91.1) in the NFL.
Eagles reach deal with 5 players — 9:35 p.m. ET
The Eagles on Tuesday agreed to terms with five players.
* Cornerback Bradley Fletcher, to a two-year deal. Fletcher, 26, was a third-round selection of St. Louis in 2009 who posted 169 tackles and five interceptions in his four seasons with the Rams, starting in 26 of 43 games.
* Tight end James Casey, to a three-year deal. Casey, 28, originally was a fifth-round draft choice of Houston in 2009. He played in 61 games (20 starts) in four years with the Texans as both a fullback and tight end.
* Safety Patrick Chung, to a three-year deal. Chung, 25, had 35 tackles, seven interceptions, three sacks and 19 passes defensed in four seasons with New England, for which he was a second-round pick in 2009.
* Linebacker Jason Phillips, to a two-year. Originally a fifth-round selection of Baltimore in 2009, the 27-year-old Phillips has spent time with both the Ravens and Carolina Panthers in his four-year career as a reserve linebacker and special-teams contributor, appearing in 29 games.
* Defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga, to a three-year deal. The 31-year-old had been a key contributor to the 49ers defensive line over the last nine seasons, recording 447 tackles and 7.5 sacks in 125 career games (80 starts). He had been a fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2004.
Woodson visiting with 49ers — 8:23 p.m. ET
San Francisco may be adding one of the NFL’s biggest-name defensive backs to its secondary.
Ex-Green Bay safety Charles Woodson is set to visit Wednesday with San Francisco, ESPN reported.
Woodson was released last month after seven seasons with the Packers. San Francisco could be seeking a lower-cost replacement for safety Dashon Goldson, who is set to visit Wednesday with Tampa Bay and is likely to leave in free agency.
Woodson, 36, has 55 career interceptions in an NFL career that began in Oakland in 1998. He was one of the league’s top cornerbacks before switching to safety in 2011. — 8:23 p.m. ET
Raiders cut DHB loose — 8:15 p.m. ET
Two former Top 10 draft picks are no longer members of the Oakland Raiders.
The team announced Tuesday that wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and defensive back Michael Huff were released.
Neither played lived up to the expectations surrounding their lofty draft status. Heyward-Bey, the No. 7 selection in 2009, has never enjoyed a 1,000-yard receiving season. His production dropped last year with 41 catches for 606 yards and five touchdowns.
Huff, the No. 7 overall pick in 2006, enjoyed his best season in 2010 at safety. He was forced to play at cornerback in 2012 because of injuries that decimated Oakland’s secondary.
With the Raiders facing salary cap issues, the Raiders felt the 2013 base salaries slated for Heyward-Bey ($7.72 million) and Huff ($4 million) were too exorbitant.
The Raiders also announced the release of defensive end David Tollefson and re-signing of defensive back Phillip Adams. — Alex Marvez
Ravens add Canty — 7:40 p.m. ET
The Baltimore Ravens have agreed to a deal with veterean defensive tackle Chris Canty. A former Giants and Cowboys starter, Canty joins the Ravens on a day where the Super Bowl XLVII champions lost free agents Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe in free agency.
Canty announced the deal himself over Instagram, tweeting this photo of his contract.
A 30-year-old, 8-year veteran, Canty played in just nine games and made 26 tackles in 2012. It was only the second season of his career in which he didn’t play all 16 games. — Peter Schrager
Dolphins release Dansby — 7:18 p.m. ET
The Miami Dolphins were extremely active on Tuesday afternoon, signing top free agents Mike Wallace and Dannell Ellerbe to lucrative, multi-year deals. They also bid farewell to a well-paid prominent player from the past three seasons, releasing linebacker Karlos Dansby in the moments after the Ellerbe deal was made public.
Dansby had a productive three years in Miami since signing with the team in 2010. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, he was asked to restructure the five-year, $42.5 million contract he signed in 2010 and declined. His 2010 contract made him the highest paid linebacker in football at the time.
Dansby had 134 tackles in 2012, the most of his nine year NFL career.
An inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, look for Dansby to be signed by another NFL team this month. He’s 31-years-old. — Peter Schrager
Chiefs add another piece — 7:08 p.m. ET
The Kansas City Chiefs have been one of the most active teams this off-season. In addition to signing quarterback Chase Daniel and tight end Anthony Fasano, they inked former Jets defensive lineman Mike DeVito on Tuesday. The DeVito signing was first reported by the Kansas City Star.
DeVito will join former Jets LB coach Bob Sutton in Kansas City, who is now the defensive coordinator for the Chiefs. An undrafted free agent out of Maine in 2007, DeVito was a key member of Rex Ryan’s defensive units that went to the AFC Championship Game in 2009 and 2010.
When Jets DT Sione Po’uha was injured for part of 2012, DeVito stepped up and showed his worth in a starting role. At 28-years-old, the New York City native will join a Chiefs team that has been extremely active since the start of the 2013 off-season.
In addition to Daniel, Fasano, and Devito, the Chiefs have re-signed receiver Dwayne Bowe and punter Dustin Colquitt, and traded for former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.
Kansas City finished the 2012 season with a 2-14 record. Andy Reid and John Dorsey are off to a quick start in improving the roster for 2013. — Peter Schrager
Rams sign Cook — 7:06 p.m. ET
The St. Louis Rams may lose two of their wide receivers in free agency, but they did bolster their offense Tuesday by reaching a five-year contract agreement with former Tennessee Titans tight end Jared Cook.
Cook was in South Florida on Tuesday and courted heavily by the Dolphins, which signed Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace to a contract shortly after Tuesday’s start of the free-agent signing period. The Browns also were in the bidding for Cook but not at nearly the same level of interest as Miami and St. Louis, a source told FOXSports.com.
Cook will now be reunited with Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, who held the same position with the Titans when the University of South Carolina product was chosen in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft. Read more — Alex Marvez
Ellerbe to Dolphins — 6:56 p.m. ET
The hits keep coming to the Super Bowl XLVIII champion Baltimore Ravens’ roster.
Dannell Ellerbe, arguably the team’s best linebacker in 2012, inked a deal with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun was the first to report the signing.
The Ravens had hoped to re-sign Ellerbe prior to the 4 p.m. EST start of the free agency period, but were unsuccessful in doing so. Terms of his new deal with Miami have not yet been announced.
Ellerbe’s signing with the Dolphins came roughly an hour after Paul Kruger’s five-year, $41 million deal with the Browns was reported. Both deals come one day after Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a sixth-round pick. Read more — Peter Schrager
Vikes, Packers interested in Jennings- — 6:40 p.m. ET
Wide receiver Greg Jennings is a popular player in the NFC North.
A source told FOXSports.com that the Vikings and the Packers have expressed interest in signing Jennings now that he is an unrestricted free agent.
Jennings, 29, is considered the top wide receiver remaining on the market after Miami signed Pittsburgh’s Mike Wallace at the start of Tuesday’s signing period.
Minnesota, which had interest in Wallace, has the salary cap room to make a run at Jennings. The Vikings also desperately need to upgrade their wide receiver corps after trading Percy Harvin to Seattle. Read more — Alex Marvez
Colts make moves — 6 p.m. ET
The Indianapolis Colts, equipped with close to $44 million in salary cap space this off-season, came out swinging for the fences with a slew of free agent signings on Tuesday.
Indianapolis opened the start of the free agent signing period by announcing deals with five veteran players. OLB Erik Walden (formerly of Green Bay), OT Gosder Cherilus (formerly of Detroit), CB Greg Toler (formerly of Arizona), CB Donald Thomas, and LB Lawrence Sidbury (formerly of Atlanta) all signed deals with the Colts on Tuesday. Only the numbers on Walden—4 years, $16 million (as reported by Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel) have been reported.
Indianapolis went from a 2-14 record in 2011 to the Wildcard round of the playoffs in 2012. The Colts severed ties with veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney in February. Walden is expected to play the outside linebacker spot opposite Robert Mathis in 2013. — Peter Schrager
Bengals keep DE Geathers — 5:24 p.m. ET
The Cincinnati Bengals had one of the top defenses in the NFL in 2012. They made another step in keeping the unit together on Tuesday, re-signing defensive end Robert Geathers to a deal that’ll keep him in the Bengals orange and black for another three years. Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports first reported that the contract is for 3 years, valued at $9.5 million.
Geathers started all 16 games for the Bengals last season, recording three quarterback sacks. The re-signing of Geathers comes a week after the team’s franchise tag being placed on talented defensive end Michael Johnson. Cincinnati also re-signed journeyman defensive end Wallace Gilberry this week.
Cincinnati, which entered Tuesday’s free agent signing frenzy with the second most available cap space in the league, still has yet to announce whether they’ll be bringing back free agents Adam Jones, Terence Newman, Andre Smith, Rey Maualuga, or Pat Sims. — Peter Schrager
Titans sign TE Walker — 5:22 p.m. ET
After declining to use their franchise tag on Jared Cook, the Tennessee Titans have found another starting tight end.
San Francisco’s Delanie Walker has reached agreement with Tennessee on a four-year contract, ESPN reported.
Walker, 28, is one of the NFL’s most versatile tight ends because of his contributions as a receiver and blocker. Playing as a secondary option to starter Vernon Davis, Walker caught 21 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns in 2012.
Cook is being courted by Miami and St. Louis. — Alex Marvez
Cribbs, Alexander thinking Cardinals? — 5:20 p.m. ET
The Arizona Cardinals could soon be landing two of the NFL’s top special teams players.
A source tells FOXSports.com that Cleveland wide receiver Josh Cribbs and Washington linebacker Lorenzo Alexander are leaning toward signing as free agents with Arizona.
Cribbs has spent all eight of his NFL seasons in Cleveland primarily as a special-teams standout and jack-of-all-trades offensive player. Cribbs was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 2000s as a kickoff returner and is the all-time leader in Browns history in that role. Cribbs also is tied for the NFL all-time record in kickoff returns for touchdowns with eight.
Cribbs would be signed as both a wide receiver and returner by Arizona, the source said. Cribbs posted a career-high 41 receptions in 2011 but wasn’t a significant part of the team’s passing offense in 2012. He finished with only 13 touches (seven catches; six rushes), marking his lowest production since Cribbs’ rookie campaign in 2005. Read more — Alex Marvez
Chiefs sign Daniel — 5:11 p.m. ET
Alex Smith wasn’t the only quarterback that Kansas City acquired Tuesday.
Along with finalizing a trade with San Francisco for Smith, the Chiefs also reached agreement on a three-year contract with New Orleans’ Chase Daniel. ESPN first reported the news.
Daniel has never started a game and thrown only nine career passes in four seasons as Drew Brees’ backup with the Saints. Daniel, though, became an attractive option with a lack of top-flight quarterbacks on the free-agent market.
The investment in Smith and Daniel makes it unlikely Kansas City will target a quarterback early in April’s NFL draft. Ex-starting quarterback Matt Cassel’s release from Kansas City is now considered imminent.
With Daniel gone, the Saints will need to find a new backup for Brees. — Alex Marvez
Titans land guard Levitre — 5:07 p.m. ET
The NFL’s most attractive free-agent guard will be playing under two coaches who made the Hall of Fame at the position.
Buffalo’s Andy Levitre has agreed to a six-year, $46.8 contract with Tennessee, the Tennessean reported.
It was widely reported that Levitre would be targeted by the Titans. Levitre is only 26 years old and he graded out well last season in his fourth consecutive year as a 16-game starter in Buffalo.
The Bills wanted to keep Levitre but opted to use their franchise tag instead on safety Jairus Byrd, paving the way for Levitre to hit the free-agent market. Read more
The Titans also signed former San Francisco 49ers tight end Delanie Walker. Read more. — Alex Marvez
Steelers keep Foote, Burress — 5:03 p.m. ET
The Pittsburgh Steelers are sticking with what they know.
The Steelers re-signed linebacker Larry Foote and wide receiver Plaxico Burress on Tuesday while also tendering offers to four restricted free agents.
Foote, 32, agreed to a three-year deal while the 35-year-old Burress will stick around for 2013. Foote and Burress join offensive lineman Ramon Foster as potential free agents who opted to remain in Pittsburgh rather than test the open market. Foster agreed to a three-year contract on Monday.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Read more — AP
Browns land Kruger — 5:01 p.m. ET
One of the top contributors on the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens roster is now headed to Baltimore’s AFC North rivals, the Cleveland Browns.
Defensive end Paul Kruger signed a five-year deal worth $41 million with the Browns on Tuesday, according to a league source. The move marks another departure from John Harbaugh’s championship defensive unit. Speculated throughout the week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report the details.
Kruger, 27 will likely play the outside linebacker position in recently hired defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4 scheme. The former second-round draft pick out of Utah stepped up in 2012, recording a career-high nine sacks. He had 4.5 sacks in the Ravens’ four-game postseason run, including two of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in Super Bowl XLVII.
The Browns are headed in a new direction and were well-suited for this year’s NFL free agency sweepstakes, leading the league in cap space heading into March. Read more — Peter Schrager
Bad day for Fitzpatrick — 4:53 p.m. ET
Just hours after private comments from Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix that were critical about Ryan Fitzpatrick surfaced on the internet, the Bills announced Tuesday afternoon that their starting quarterback was released.
A story appeared Tuesday morning on Deadspin.com about a prank phone call arranged between Nix and Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik that was taped without their knowledge or consent. The audio of the recording, which is also on Deadspin.com, captured Nix talking about Buffalo’s demand that Fitzpatrick accept a pay cut to remain on the roster.
“We’re still struggling here with our quarterback,” Nix said. “We’re not really struggling. (Fitzpatrick) is going to have to do something or we’ll have to.
“We just can’t afford to pay that kind of money for a guy who’s fighting for probably a backup job.” Read more — Alex Marvez
Ross returns to G-Men — 4:44 p.m. ET
The Giants are expected to be active throughout this week’s start of the free agency period. Re-signing Ross minutes before the start of the madness was a good first step in addressing their defensive backfield.
Terms of the deal were not immediately made public. — Peter Schrager
Dolphins land Wallace — 4:40 p.m. ET
The most highly sought skill-position player in free agency has a new home.
Wide receiver Mike Wallace has agreed to contract terms with Miami, the NFL Network reported.
Although there is a weak class of free-agent wideouts in 2013, Wallace is considered a blue-chip player because of his speed, upside and age (26). Wallace has the most catches of 40-plus yards in the NFL since 2009 and a career 17.2-yard average.
Wallace’s receiving numbers dipped slightly in 2012 following Pittsburgh’s change to a shorter passing game under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Wallace did himself no favors by missing almost the entire preseason in a contract holdout and dropping an excessive number of passes.
The Dolphins were anxious to add a speedy wide receiver to help bolster one of the NFL’s most anemic deep passing offenses in 2012. Miami also re-signed wideout Brian Hartline late last week. Read more — Alex Marvez
Bennett heading to Chicago — 4:15 p.m. ET
One of the NFL’s top tight ends had a new contract just one minute into Tuesday’s free-agent signing period.
Profootballfocus.com first reported that Martellus Bennett will be leaving the New York Giants for the Chicago Bears.
Bennett quickly confirmed the news on his Twitter account (@JoeGryffindor).
“I’m proud to say I’ll be joining my other brother (Brandon Marshall) next season. #BEARDOWN,” Bennett wrote.
Bennett and Marshall, a Bears wide receiver, aren’t related but close friends. Read more — Alex Marvez
Eagles get rid of Asomugha — 4 p.m. ET
The release of Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha just before the start of Tuesday’s free-agent signing period served as a chilling reminder that not every high-priced veteran who changes teams will prove worth the money.
Asomugha was considered a “can’t miss” addition when signing a five-year, $60 million contract with the Eagles in 2011. Asomugha was an All-Pro selection four times during his first eight seasons with the Oakland Raiders and widely regarded along with Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets as the NFL’s best cornerbacks in 2010.
Asomugha, though, never lived up to his lucrative deal with the Eagles. Philadelphia’s pass defense slipped to a No. 24 ranking in 2012 with Asomugha and fellow cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie struggling in coverage. Read more — Alex Marvez
Packers rework Jolly’s deal — 3:54 p.m. ET
It could be the first sign of a second chance or it could mean absolutely nothing, but the Green Bay Packers have restructured the contract of recently reinstated defensive lineman Johnny Jolly.
Jolly was suspended by the NFL in 2010, shortly after signing a restricted free-agent tender with the Packers for $2.5 million. Jolly’s violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, however, never allowed him to earn that money.
After being reinstated by the NFL earlier this month, Jolly automatically became part of Green Bay’s active roster with his salary temporarily carrying over. Clearly though, the Packers would never have considered paying Jolly, now 30 years old and three years removed from playing football, that same amount. First reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, today’s NFL Players Association salary data revealed the expected pay cut for Jolly to have him now on the books for $715,000.
That move trims the Packers’ salary obligation (and cap space) by $1.8 million. Read more — FOX Sports Wisconsin
Vikings release Winfield — 3:45 p.m. ET
The Minnesota Vikings’ busy Tuesday continued with very unexpected news.
Minnesota cut 14-year veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield on Tuesday, releasing one of the team’s leaders and most consistent defensive performers. Winfield’s release, confirmed to FOXSportsNorth.com by his agent Ashanti Webb, comes a day after the Vikings traded playmaking receiver Percy Harvin. On Tuesday, the team also reportedly restructured the contract of tight end John Carlson and re-signed receiver Jerome Simpson hours before the 3 p.m. start of free agency.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that releasing Winfield was considered a cost-cutting move, with Webb telling Rapoport, “It’s financial.” Winfield, 35, was scheduled to make $7.25 million this season.
Winfield, a three-time Pro Bowler and considered one of the best tackling corners in the NFL despite his 5-foot-9, 180-pound frame, had 110 tackles last season for Minnesota and tied for the team lead with three interceptions. A year after missing 11 games due to injury, he played all 16 games last year as the Vikings rested their top cornerback during the week to keep him fresh for game days. Read more — FOX Sports North
Glazer: Gonzalez will return for another season
The most productive tight end in the history of the NFL is officially putting off retirement for one more year.
Tony Gonzalez told FOX Sports in an exclusive interview that he has now told the Atlanta Falcons he is coming back and the two sides are on the verge of a new contract that will put him back with Matt Ryan and Co. for one more run.
"After discussing it with my family and really, truly struggling with this decision, I informed the Falcons that I would like to return for one more shot," Gonzalez told FOX Sports after meeting with doctors in order to get medical clearance. "Considering how this season ended, I wanted to give it another run with Matt (Ryan), Smitty (head coach Mike Smith) and the guys we have in there. It was the first time I had won a playoff game and hopefully coming back once more we can take it one step further." Read more
BEARS PURSUING TACKLES — 10:20 a.m. ET
The Chicago Bears are making left tackle a major free-agent focus.
A source told FOXSports.com that Miami’s Jake Long and New Orleans’ Jermon Bushrod are atop the team’s wish list when the free-agent signing period begins at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, Long reached the Pro Bowls during each of his first four seasons in Miami. But a lengthy injury history and high contract demands prompted the Dolphins to use their franchise tag on defensive tackle Randy Starks and let the 27-year-old Long hit free agency even with ample salary cap space available.
Bushrod, 28, reached the Pro Bowl the past two seasons as the blindside protector of quarterback Drew Brees. And while Bushrod recently told me and co-host Gil Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he preferred to play for a warm-weather team, there is a natural link to the Bears. Aaron Kromer, who was Bushrod’s offensive line coach in New Orleans, is Chicago’s new offensive coordinator. Read more — Alex Marvez
BARNES A HOT COMMODITY — 10:15 a.m. ET
A linebacker with 18.5 sacks for the San Diego Chargers the past three seasons could be heading elsewhere.
A source told FOXSports.com that Antwan Barnes has received interest from six teams with the free-agent signing period set to open at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
A 2007 fourth-round pick by Baltimore, Barnes enjoyed his best season with San Diego in 2011, when he led the team with 11 sacks. Barnes suffered a hamstring injury last November that eventually landed him on injured reserve.
Barnes, 28, is one of the more attractive options available in a limited free-agent class of 3-4 outside linebackers with pass-rush skills.
— Alex Marvez