Eagles land Kearse, Redskins stay active in free agent market

Posted: Thursday, March 04, 2004

The Philadelphia Eagles one-upped Daniel Snyder and the Washington Redskins, outbidding them for defensive end Jevon Kearse on the first day of the free-agency signing period.

But the traditionally hyperactive Redskins also made moves Wednesday. Snyder's team agreed to terms with defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin and, according to a league source who requested anonymity, with Seattle cornerback Shawn Springs.

Kearse agreed to a $66 million, eight-year deal to move from Tennessee to Philadelphia, which took a risk. Kearse has been hurt often the last two seasons, playing in only 18 of 32 games. That was one reason the Titans decided not to protect him with the ''franchise'' player tag.

But after losing in the NFC title game three years in a row, the Eagles decided to go for the pass rusher they lacked last season after letting Hugh Douglas leave for Jacksonville.

The Redskins had been interested in Kearse, but had to settle for Griffin, who spent his first four seasons with another NFC East team, the New York Giants. He also is a risk. His best season was as a rookie in 2000, and he had only one sack in 2003.

Springs would replace Champ Bailey as the shutdown cornerback in the Washington secondary. The Redskins also took a chance on Springs, who hasn't played a complete season in four years.

Last year, Snyder signed four players on the first day of free agency, picking up guard Dave Fiore in San Francisco just after midnight in his private plane and zooming him to Redskins Park to sign a contract.

''One of the things I admire about Dan is he makes quick decisions,'' said Joe Gibbs, who didn't have to deal with free agency or the salary cap when he first coached the Redskins from 1981-92. ''At 12:01, we were on the phones. It's exciting. It's one of the biggest nights we'll have.''

The Skins made their splash before the official start, sending Bailey to Denver for running back Clinton Portis and acquiring quarterback Mark Brunell from Jacksonville for a third-round draft choice.

The Brunell trade became official Wednesday, and Portis was at Redskins Park, although the deal had not officially been announced. Bailey, however, agreed to terms with Denver, and Brunell was introduced by the Redskins.

Both Washington and Denver scheduled news conferences Thursday to formally announce the Bailey-Portis trade.

Bailey agreed to a seven-year, $63 million contract that includes an $18 million signing bonus and $5 million in other bonuses. It is the most ever paid to a cornerback in NFL history.

The Redskins also signed defensive end Philip Daniels on Tuesday. Daniels had been cut by Chicago on Monday, technically making him what's known as a ''street free agent,'' not an unrestricted one.

So the Bears made the first deal with unrestricted players.

They agreed to terms with running back Thomas Jones, the seventh overall pick in the 2000 draft. He was a disappointment in Arizona and Tampa Bay.

Chicago also grabbed Jonathan Quinn, a career third-string quarterback who was in Kansas City last season, cut veteran linebacker Warrick Holdman and re-signed fullback Stanley Pritchett.

Receiver Keyshawn Johnson agreed to a four-year, $20 million contract with Dallas that includes a $4 million signing bonus and $2 million base salary for 2004. He could earn more with incentives.

But the Buccaneers first must work out a deal with Cowboys receiver Joey Galloway, and according to Galloway's agent, Leigh Steinberg, that is not close to happening.

Galloway earned $6.6 million in 2003. Steinberg said Tampa Bay's best offer has been about $1 million for one year.

Tampa Bay signed two lower-tier free agents: fullback Greg Comella and tight end Dave Moore. Released by Buffalo on Tuesday, Moore spent 10 seasons with the Bucs.

The trade of Philadelphia quarterback A.J. Feeley to Miami for a second-round draft choice in 2005 became official Wednesday.

Also:

The Oakland Raiders took the first step toward revamping their defense by agreeing to a $14 million, four-year contract with veteran tackle Ted Washington. A key member of the Super Bowl champion Patriots last season, he receives a $4 million signing bonus. Washington turned down an $8 million, three-year offer from the Patriots last week to become a free agent.

Green Bay agreed to a six-year, $32.6 million deal with left tackle Chad Clifton, saving the salary cap space he would have used up had he remained the team's franchise player. As a franchise player, Clifton would have cost $7 million under the cap. It now will be $2.5 million.

Safety Jerome Woods agreed to a six-year contract with Kansas City. Woods was a defensive leader for the Chiefs last season and made the Pro Bowl for the first time.

The New York Jets released 11-year veteran Marvin Jones, the second linebacker let go in three days. On Monday, New York released Mo Lewis, who had been with the team for 13 seasons.

New England re-signed wide receiver J.J. Stokes, who joined the Patriots late last season after being released by Jacksonville. Stokes was the 10th overall pick by San Francisco in the 1995 draft.

Steelers fullback Dan Kreider passed up free agency and signed a four-year contract that will pay him a little more than $4 million. The 27-year-old Kreider received an $840,000 signing bonus and will earn $535,000 next season.

New Orleans signed veteran cornerback and special teams player Fakhir Brown to a two-year contract and agreed to terms on a three-year contract with linebacker Derrick Rodgers.

The Lions signed defensive end James Hall to a five-year deal and restructured the contract of Robert Porcher, a 12-year veteran and the team's career sacks leader with 91. Detroit also released safety Corey Harris.

Cleveland worked out Drew Henson, the former Michigan quarterback drafted last season by Houston while Henson still was playing baseball in the New York Yankees' organization.

The Texans, looking to deal Henson before next month's draft, also reworked the contract of two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Gary Walker to make it more salary cap friendly. Then they signed tackle Todd Wade away from the Dolphins for six years and $30 million.



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