|Saints agree to terms with Champ Bailey|
|Friday, April 04, 2014 8:00 PM|
NEW ORLEANS — Champ Bailey will get to chase a Pro Bowl record and another Super Bowl appearance with the New Orleans Saints.
The veteran cornerback agreed to a 2-year contract with the Saints on Friday, with a maximum value that approaches $7 million, including guaranteed money and a signing bonus in the first year.
The 35-year-old Bailey played the last 10 seasons with Denver after spending his first five in the NFL with Washington. A shutdown cornerback for much of his career, Bailey has made three All-Pro teams and been selected to 12 Pro Bowls. He trails only Hall-of-Fame end Reggie White (13) among defensive players in NFL history in Pro Bowls.
Bailey’s 52 interceptions are the most among active players, as are his 204 passes defensed. He made the league’s All-Decade team for 2000-09.
Bailey missed 11 games because of a left foot sprain originally suffered in the 2013 preseason, which wound up being a Lisfranc injury, one of the most painful for an athlete.
He returned late in the season to help the Broncos advance to the Super Bowl, where they were routed by Seattle.
His coverage skills clearly are not what they were in his prime but he will add leadership and savvy to the Saints’ secondary that is undergoing a transformation following the release of strong safety Roman Harper and the loss of free safety Malcolm Jenkins, who signed with Philadelphia as a free agent.
New Orleans also may lose safety Rafael Bush, an unrestricted free agent who on Thursday signed an offer sheet from the Atlanta Falcons. New Orleans has until Tuesday to match that offer and keep Bush but the Saints have been operating with minimal salary cap space, which will only be squeezed further by bringing in Bailey.
A versatile player who saw action on offense, defense and special teams at Georgia, Bailey was drafted with the seventh overall pick in 1999 by Washington. He was dealt to Denver in 2004 for running back Clinton Portis.
Titans tell Chris Johnson he’ll be released today
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The CJ2K era is over in Tennessee, just the latest step by the Titans in their franchise makeover.
The Titans released Chris Johnson Friday after six seasons to avoid paying $8 million the running back is due in 2014, along with the final three seasons left on the $53.5 million contract he signed in September 2011. His release comes before the Titans start their offseason program Monday with new coach Ken Whisenhunt.
General manager Ruston Webster thanked Johnson for his contributions, setting so many franchise records and being durable over his six seasons with Tennessee.
The Titans have been busy working to replace Johnson, who turns 29 in September. They agreed with Dexter McCluster on a 3-year deal at the start of free agency after signing Shonn Greene in March 2013. The Titans also re-signed Jackie Battle recently, along with reaching a 1-year deal for kick returner and running back Leon Washington on March 11.
Adding another running back in the May draft also is expected.
It didn’t help that Johnson repeatedly said he wouldn’t take a pay cut. The Titans didn’t face a deadline that would have guaranteed the $8 million Johnson was due in 2014 until the first week of the regular season but Johnson planned to report for the start of the offseason program Monday.
Johnson got that big contract in 2011 after holding out through the preseason, calling himself a playmaker who deserved to be paid. He does have the most touchdown runs of 80 yards or longer in NFL history with six — twice the total of anyone else in a group including Adrian Peterson, Barry Sanders and O.J. Simpson. He also has 12 career TD runs of at least 45 yards, trailing only Sanders (18) and Jim Brown (13) in that category.
He is just the sixth player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons, along with Sanders, Curtis Martin, LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson and Corey Dillon.
But Johnson has fallen far short of the 2,006-yard season he posted in 2009, the sixth man to rush for at least 2,000 yards. He earned the nickname CJ2K for such exploits but last season he went until the final game to top 1,000 and finished with 1,077 yards — the second lowest total of his career. He also had a career-low 3.9-yard average.
He was at his best catching 42 passes for 345 yards with four TDs, including a long of 66 yards.
The Titans have been remaking the franchise this offseason since owner Bud Adams died in October. His son-in-law, Tommy Smith, took over as president and the Titans fired coach Mike Munchak in January. Whisenhunt was hired to get this franchise back into the playoffs after a 5-year drought and he kept Sylvester Croom as the Titans’ running backs coach.
Bills land WR Williams in trade with Bucs
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Receiver Mike Williams is returning home to Buffalo after being acquired by the Bills in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday.
The trade, contingent on Williams passing a physical, addresses a significant need for the Bills by adding an experienced, proven starter to what had been a young group of receivers. In exchange, the Bills gave up a sixth-round draft pick.
At 6-2 and 212 pounds, Williams has topped 900 yards receiving in two of his four seasons. That includes 2010, when he led NFL rookies with 65 catches, 964 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He comes to Buffalo with a hefty price tag a year after signing a 6-year, $40 million contract. Injuries limited Williams to just six games last season, when he finished with 22 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
He made off-field headlines last month. On March 23, he was allegedly stabbed in the leg by his brother, Eric Baylor, who has since turned himself in to police.
Williams was treated and released from a hospital for a thigh wound. According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office, Williams initially told deputies he and his brother were wrestling and the stabbing was accidental.
In Buffalo, Williams joins a receiving group that featured only one proven starter in Stevie Johnson.
Johnson’s numbers plummeted in 2013 in part due to injuries and he missed the final two games following the death of his mother. The Bills’ passing attack struggled as a whole, finishing 29th in yards gained.
Williams’ addition provides the Bills an opportunity to address other needs in the draft next month; they own the ninth overall pick.
The Bills used two of their first four selections on receivers in last year’s draft by choosing Robert Woods in the second round and speedster Marquise Goodwin in the third.
Lions sign Orlovsky as backup QB
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Quarterback Dan Orlovsky is back with the Detroit Lions after signing a 1-year contract.
Orlovsky spent the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He appeared in two games last season. He was drafted by the Lions in the fifth round of the 2005 draft and played his first four years in the NFL with Detroit.
His arrival gives the Lions a veteran backup for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Shaun Hill filled that role previously but he signed with St. Louis this offseason.
The Lions also announced Friday that they have signed tackle J.B. Shugarts. He was an undrafted rookie out of Ohio State in 2012 and has previously been on practice squads with the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.
Raiders sign P Daniel Zychlinski
ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders have signed free-agent punter Daniel Zychlinski.
The team announced the move to add the former Stanford player on Friday. Zychlinski played for the Cardinal from 2008-12, averaging 42.2 yards on his 97 punts.
Zychlinski provides insurance behind Marquette King, who led the NFL with a 48.9 yard average per punt in his first year in the NFL.
Safety Adrian Wilson released by Patriots
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Safety Adrian Wilson has been released by New England.
The 13-year veteran did not play a snap for the Patriots in his one season with the team after hurting his ankle in the preseason. He spent all of 2013 on injured reserve and New England announced his release Friday.
A 4-time All-Pro pick, Wilson spent his first 12 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. Wilson has played in 181 career games with 162 starts, making 716 tackles, 25½ sacks and 27 interceptions.
Redskins re-sign linebacker Rob Jackson
ASHBURN, Va. — Linebacker Rob Jackson re-signed with the Washington Redskins, returning to the only NFL team he’s played for.
The 28-year-old Jackson was an unrestricted free agent.
The Redskins announced the deal Friday.
Jackson was a seventh-round pick of the Redskins in the 2008 draft and has played in 54 regular-season games over six seasons, with 15 starts.
Giants agree to deal with TE Kellen Davis
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants agreed to a 1-year contract on Friday with tight end Kellen Davis, whose previous team’s last game was a Super Bowl victory at the Giants’ stadium.
The 14th free agent signed by the Giants this offseason who played elsewhere last year, Davis spent his first five NFL seasons with Chicago. He joined the Seahawks one week into the 2013 season and played in every game the rest of the way — except Seattle’s Super Bowl victory over Denver, when he was inactive.
Mostly used as a blocker, Davis has 50 receptions for 561 yards and 12 touchdowns in the regular season. He was a fifth-round draft pick by the Bears in 2008.
The Giants also signed wide receiver Travis Harvey, who has no NFL experience.
Eagles LB Jake Knott suspended 4 games
PHILADELPHIA — Eagles linebacker Jake Knott has been suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Knott played 12 games mostly on special teams and made six tackles last season as an undrafted rookie out of Iowa State. He is allowed to participate in all Eagles offseason activities and preseason games.
The league announced the suspension Friday. Knott says he uses nutritional supplements and didn’t realize he used a banned substance.
|Last Updated on Friday, April 04, 2014 8:21 PM|