Holmes Returns to Jets as Marquee NFL Free Agents Begin to Make Decisions
Free-agent wide receiver Santonio Holmes agreed to re-sign with the New York Jets as some of the National Football League’s top available players found roster spots on the second day of business following the end of a lockout.
Two days after the conclusion of a 4 1/2-month work stoppage that yielded a 10-year labor agreement, quarterback Donovan McNabb was headed to the Minnesota Vikings from the Washington Redskins in a preliminary deal, and passer Matt Hasselbeck will sign with the Tennessee Titans, ESPN said.
Former New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress said he would meet with his old team to discuss a possible return following a jail sentence, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.
Holmes’s deal to remain with the Jets was confirmed by a person familiar with the signing who was granted anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The contract is worth $50 million over five years, including $24 million guaranteed, according to ESPN.com.
NFL teams were allowed to begin signing drafted and undrafted rookies, negotiate with free agents and make trades beginning yesterday. Free-agent signings can’t officially begin until 6 p.m. New York time on July 29, meaning teams won’t speak publicly about their agreements prior to then.
Holmes, 27, joined the Jets last season after catching the winning touchdown pass for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl. He had 52 catches for 746 yards and six touchdowns for New York in 2010.
The Vikings reached a preliminary agreement to acquire the 34-year-old McNabb from the Redskins for a 2012 sixth-round draft pick and a conditional 2013 sixth-rounder, ESPN reported, citing people it didn’t identify. The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback played one season in Washington following 11 with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Hasselbeck, a 35-year-old free agent, ended a 10-season stay with the Seattle Seahawks, agreeing on a multiyear contract with the Titans, ESPN reported. The move came after Seattle agreed on a deal with former Vikings passer Tarvaris Jackson yesterday, the sports network said.
Burress was released from prison in June after serving 20 months on weapons charges for accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a Manhattan nightclub. He told the Star-Ledger that he planned to meet with the Giants today, with the team later notified by the league that it couldn’t meet with Burress until July 29, the newspaper said.
Manning to Burress
The 33-year-old Burress caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning in the final 35 seconds of the 2008 Super Bowl to give the Giants a 17-14 win over the New England Patriots.
The Giants today extended coach Tom Coughlin’s contract through the 2012 season. Coughlin is 65-47 during the regular season since joining New York in 2004, winning a Super Bowl and two division titles while reaching the postseason four times. Prior to the agreement his contract was set to expire at the end of the 2011 season.
Having coached the Jacksonville Jaguars for eight seasons, Coughlin has 133 career regular-season wins, ranking 21st in NFL history.
The Giants also agreed to terms with 29-year-old center David Baas, who started every game the past two seasons for the San Francisco 49ers, the Sacramento Bee reported, citing a person in the league. Baas would be part of a rebuilt offensive line for New York, which yesterday told two veterans, center Shaun O’Hara and guard Rich Seubert, that they were being cut.
Eric Weddle became the highest-paid safety in NFL history when he agreed with the San Diego Chargers on a five-year, $40 million contract, according to NFL.com, citing an unidentified person in the league. The deal includes $19 million in guaranteed money and a $13 million signing bonus.
Running back DeAngelo Williams agreed to re-sign with the Carolina Panthers for $43 million over five years, including $21 million in guaranteed money, NFL.com said, without citing a source for its information.
Williams, who missed the second half of last season with a sprained foot, rushed for more than 1,100 yards in both 2008 and 2009.
Quarterback Matt Leinart agreed to re-sign with the Houston Texans, the Houston Chronicle said, citing unidentified people. The 28-year-old Leinart was picked up by Houston in September after being released by the Arizona Cardinals and didn’t take a single snap last season.
Free-agent wide receiver Lance Moore agreed on a five-year deal to return to the New Orleans Saints, the Associated Press said, citing an unidentified person familiar with the signing. Moore had 66 catches for 763 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
The Dallas Cowboys agreed to re-sign left tackle Doug Free to a four-year contract that guarantees the four-year veteran $17 million, according to AP.
Free-agent linebacker Paul Posluszny agreed on a six-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to the Florida Times-Union, citing his agent. Posluszny, 26, played the last four seasons for the Buffalo Bills. He had 103 tackles in 14 games last season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed rookie defensive end Adrian Clayborn, the No. 20 draft pick, to a four-year contract that includes a fifth-year option, according to the St. Petersburg Times. The deal makes Clayborn, who played at the University of Iowa, the first 2011 first-rounder to sign under the new rookie salary scale contained in the collective bargaining agreement approved on July 25, the newspaper said.
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