Patriots Add Amendola After Losing Welker, Falcons Sign Jackson

The New England Patriots signed free-agent wide receiver Danny Amendola one day after losing Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos.

The Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms with running back Steven Jackson, the Seattle Seahawks added defensive end Cliff Avril and former New York Jets safety LaRon Landry signed a free-agent contract yesterday with the Indianapolis Colts on the second full day of National Football League free agency.

The Patriots didn’t reveal details of their deal with Amendola, 27, in an e-mailed release. The five-year agreement is worth $31 million, with $10 million guaranteed, ESPN reported.

“We are excited about Danny’s addition to our team and we look forward to beginning work with him this spring and into the future,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in the release.

Amendola, who at 5-foot-11 (1.8 meters) is considered undersized for a receiver, had 63 receptions for 666 yards and three touchdowns last season with the St. Louis Rams despite missing five games with a broken collarbone.

Yesterday’s announcement came one day after the 5-foot-9 Welker signed with the Broncos following six seasons in New England. The two have drawn comparisons for their similar size and style as shifty inside receivers.

The Patriots also said that they signed free-agent running back Leon Washington, 30, who played for the Jets in 2006-09 before spending the last three seasons with Seattle.

The 29-year-old Jackson, who had opted out of his contract with the Rams, signed a three-year contract with Atlanta, the Falcons said in an e-mailed release. The Falcons cut running back Michael Turner on March 1.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Jackson rushed last year for four touchdowns and 1,042 yards, his eighth consecutive season eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark. He has played in just two playoff games in his nine-year career, spent entirely in St. Louis.

Avril’s Deal

Avril, 26, agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract with the Seahawks after playing the past five seasons in Detroit, ESPN said. A third-round selection in the 2008 draft by the Lions, he had 20 1/2 sacks and eight forced fumbles in his last two seasons.

The Seahawks gave up 306.2 yards per game last season, fourth fewest in the league, and had 36 sacks, 16 fewer than the league-leading Denver Broncos. Defensive end Chris Clemons, who led the team with 11 1/2 sacks, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Seattle’s first playoff game and the team has not yet announced a timetable for his return.

Selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins, Landry spent five years with the team before joining the Jets last season. The 28-year-old played all 16 games with New York, with two interceptions and a team-high four forced fumbles.

His new four-year contract is worth $24 million, with $14 million in guarantees, according to ESPN.

Cassel Moves

The Minnesota Vikings signed quarterback Matt Cassel after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs, according to ESPN. The Chiefs traded for quarterback Alex Smith this offseason and would have owed Cassel a base salary of $7.5 million this season, the network said.

The Chiefs also agreed to a three-year contract with cornerback Sean Smith, ESPN said. Smith played the last four seasons in Miami.

The New York Giants said they had signed cornerback Aaron Ross, 30, who spent five seasons with the team before leaving in 2012 for a year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ross started in two Super Bowls for the Giants.

The Giants also re-signed linebacker Keith Rivers to a one-year deal, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. The 26-year-old started six games for the team last year, finishing the season with 44 tackles.

The San Diego Chargers signed cornerback Derek Cox to a four-year contract, the team announced. Cox, 26, had 12 interceptions over the past four seasons for the Jaguars.

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