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NFL Free Agency Roundup: Brees Stays w/ Saints, Cousins to Vikings


Free agency hasn’t officially begun for the NFL yet. Contracts can be signed starting at 4 p.m. tomorrow. However, teams can agree in principle to deals with players today, so here’s a roundup of all the reported signings.

Drew Brees re-signs with the New Orleans Saints

No surprise here, though there was speculation that the Vikings could try to lure Brees away. Instead, he’ll stay with the Saints for another two years for $50 million, presumably to close out his Hall of Fame career.

Kirk Cousins heads to Minnesota

With Brees destined to remain in the Big Easy, Cousins was the top quarterback target on the open market. The Vikings didn’t hesitate, reportedly giving the ex-Redskin a three-year deal worth $86 million. It’s now the richest contract in NFL history, beating out the deal Jimmy Garoppolo got from the 49ers earlier this offseason.

Case Keenum signs with the Broncos

In signing Cousins, the Vikings eschewed three of their free agent signal callers, all of whom could easily start for other teams. Keenum was the first to find a new home, agreeing to a new contract with Denver. The figures aren’t finalized yet, but it will most likely be a two-year deal for $36 million.

Sam Bradford goes to Arizona

Another ex-Vikings QB for a QB needy team, the Cardinals will bring Bradford into the fold, presumably as a bridge option for a younger prospect they’ll target in the draft. The deal will be worth $20 million for this season with a team option for 2019.

Jets re-sign Josh McCown, close to deal with Teddy Bridgewater

The final Vikings QB left, Bridgewater may head to the Big Apple to compete for the Jets starting position, presumably with a rookie and McCown, who the Jets also re-signed to a one-year deal for $10 million.

Packers sign Jimmy Graham

How’s this for giving Aaron Rodgers a weapon? Graham struggled to stay consistent after getting traded to the Seahawks from the Saints, but he’s still a dangerous threat at tight end. His new contract with Green Bay will be for three years. Alas, the Packers will also be releasing wideout Jordy Nelson to clear cap space for Graham.

Malcolm Butler agrees to deal with Titans

Last year, the Titans signed Logan Ryan away from the Patriots. They’ve taken another one from New England, inking Butler to a new five-year contract worth $61 million. It comes as no surprise, seeing as how he was on the outs with management in Foxboro.

Jets add Trumaine Johnson

Butler wasn’t the only corner to agree to a new deal. Johnson comes over from the Rams on a brand new multi-year deal that will pay him $15 million per season. He immediately upgrades their secondary.

Andrew Norwell joins the Jaguars

By far the best offensive lineman available, the former Carolina Panther guard has inked a five-year deal worth a whopping $66.5 million with Jacksonville. It’ll be a huge upgrade for the team on the interior offensive line.

Weston Richburg signs with the 49ers

Richburg was one of the better options at center in free agency this year, so this is a nice get for San Fran. It’ll be a five-year contract for the ex-Giant. Another great start to free agency for the Niners, who signed released Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman to a three-year deal worth $39.15 million a couple of days ago.

Bears ink Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton

The Bears obviously need to upgrade the talent around young QB Mitch Trubisky. Robinson is a good start at receiver. He’ll leave the Jaguars to join the team on a three-year, $42 million contract. Underutilized in Philly, Burton has a ton of starting potential, and Chicago evidently agreed, signing him to a four-year deal worth $32 million. He’ll immediately be the top option at tight end. Gabriel has similar upside as a slot receiver. He’ll leave the Falcons to sign a four-year contract to join the Bears.

Chiefs get Sammy Watkins, Anthony Hitchens

Patrick Mahomes will need a strong wideout to throw to, and while Watkins has underperformed at times with the Bills and Rams, he’s certainly better than the majority of the current group of receivers in Kansas City. His contract will for three years and $48 million. Hitchens, formerly with the Cowboys, will replace Derrick Johnson at linebacker on a deal worth $9 million.

Bills double up at defensive tackle, re-signing Kyle Williams and inking Star Lotulelei

It took Williams 12 years, but he finally made the playoffs this past season with the Bills. The team rewarded him with a one-year deal for $6 million. Lotulelei didn’t live up to expectations as a first-round pick with the Panthers, but maybe Sean McDermott can get something out of him. He’ll have plenty of time; his new contract will be for five years. The team also signed Saints safety Rafael Bush to a two-year deal for $4.5 million.

Danny Amendola joins the Dolphins

Amendola was tremendous in the playoffs for the Patriots, leading the team in receiving. With Jarvis Landry traded to the Browns, the Dolphins required a strong intermediate option in the passing game. They’ll have that with Amendola, who signed for three years and $24 million.

Jonathan Stewart to sign with the Giants

Stewart got cut from the Panthers recently, but he’s still capable of being a low-end starter at running back. The Giants have had problems with that group in the last few years, so bringing J-Stew in can’t make things any worse.

Dolphins sign Albert Wilson, Redskins sign Paul Richardson

Two very similar deals for Miami and Washington. The former has brought in Wilson, formerly of the Chiefs, on a three-year, $24 million deal. The latter agreed to terms with Richardson, who has played his entire career with the Seahawks, on a five-year $40 million contract. $8 million per season for two receivers who are talented but may never be #1 options.

Jaguars retain Marqise Lee, sign Donte Moncrief

With Robinson departing, the Jags definitely had to try and keep Lee, their #3 receiver, around for at least another year. They’ve done that and then some, signing him to a four-year contract worth $38 million. Moncrief, who’s been with the Colts for the last four seasons, will contribute as well.

Jets sign running back Isaiah Crowell

Gang Green needed to fill a void at running back after Matt Forte retired, and Crowell, who’s started for the Browns the last few seasons, will attempt to do that, agreeing to a three-year deal.

Ravens add wide receiver John Brown

The Ravens have had depth issues in their receiving corps in the last few years, and while Brown won’t solve all of them, he’s a good start.

Texans upgrade secondary with Aaron Colvin

Needing some young blood at cornerback, Houston has brought Colvin over from the Jaguars on a four-year deal. He did well as the #3 corner behind Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, so he deserved a larger role with another team. On offense, the team signed tackle Seantrel Henderson away from the Bills.

Rams re-sign Nickell Robey-Coleman

After trading for both Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib in the last few weeks, the Rams have strengthened their secondary again by retaining Robey-Coleman, who did very well as their nickel corner last season. The new deal will be for three years and $15.75 million.

Panthers sign Bashaud Breeland at corner

Breeland was underrated in coverage with the Redskins, and now he’ll get a chance to prove himself as a #1 corner with Carolina. His new contract will be for three-years, $24 million.

Lions retain Tavon Wilson and Nevin Lawson, sign two linebackers

Detroit needed upgrades in their linebacking corps, but they may be overpaying a tad here. They’ve signed Devon Kennard away from the Giants with a three-year, $18.75 million contract. They also signed Bears linebacker Christian Jones to a two-year deal worth $7.75 million. Both guys have shown flashes but are just as unproven as the rest of the LBs on the roster. The team also re-signed safety Tavon Wilson for two-years and $7 million and cornerback Nevin Lawson for two years and $9.2 million.

Eagles bring in Haloti Ngata, Corey Nelson

The Eagles are fairly cap-strapped at the moment, so they’ll have to be smart with their moves. Getting Ngata from the Lions for one-year in the interior defensive line is a solid choice. Nelson, who saw time as a starter with the Broncos, isn’t as good as Nigel Bradham is at linebacker, but he’ll most likely serve as a steady option for one season at $2.25 million.

Browns sign pass rusher Chris Smith, tackles Chris Hubbard and Donald Stephenson

With plenty of cap space, the Browns can afford to go out on a limb with some of their moves. Smith was decent enough as a rotational edge defender with the Bengals. He’ll sign for three years and $14 million in Cleveland. Hubbard comes over from the Steelers; he was mostly a utility offensive lineman there but fared well when asked to step in at right tackle this past season. His deal is for five years and $37.5 million. Stephenson, who’s started at both tackle spots for the Chiefs and Broncos, has agreed to a one-year contract for $2.5 million.

Raiders add tight end Derek Carrier

They can’t all be winners. Carrier is a fine blocking tight end, and the Raiders needed to add one with Lee Smith hitting free agency. It’s a three-year deal.

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