Wide receivers grabbed the big money as NFL free agency began Tuesday. Vincent Jackson is headed to Tampa Bay, Pierre Garcon to Washington...
Wide receivers grabbed the big money as NFL free agency began Tuesday.
Vincent Jackson is headed to Tampa Bay, Pierre Garcon to Washington, and Marques Colston will stay in New Orleans, all getting huge deals.
Josh Morgan also caught a hefty contract from the Redskins, while Miami dealt its top receiver, Brandon Marshall, to Chicago for two draft choices.
Jackson got a five-year, $55.55 million contract with the Buccaneers. He will be paid $13 million in each of his first two years, then $10 million for the third year. Jackson will provide a deep threat for Josh Freeman, whose other receivers, Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, are more short-range targets.
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Garcon gets $42.5 million over five years from the Redskins, with $20.5 million in guaranteed money, including an $11 million signing bonus.
Garcon had 188 catches for 16 touchdowns and a 13.4-yard average in four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.
Washington, which is losing $36 million in salary cap space over the next two seasons for excessive spending in the uncapped 2010 season, also grabbed Morgan for $12 million over the first two years of a five-year deal, with $7.5 million guaranteed. And the Redskins re-signed defensive end Adam Carriker for four years and $20 million, with $7 million guaranteed.
Hours before free agency began, Colston agreed to a five-year contract worth about $40 million to remain in the Big Easy.
“I was not looking to chase free agency,” Colston said in a statement. “It was more important for me to be back in our program, a program we have been building and a program I believe in.”
The top free agent, of course, is Peyton Manning, who was released a week ago by the Colts. He still is conducting his limited tour of teams, but the Dolphins’ trade of their No. 1 receiver could indicate Miami is out of the running for the four-time league MVP.
Also re-upping with their teams were Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas, Eagles tackle Todd Herremans, Chargers center Nick Hardwick, Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas, Vikings backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels, Bears cornerback Tim Jennings, Falcons backup quarterback Chris Redman and receiver Harry Douglas, and Colts reciver Reggie Wayne, who reportedly has agreed in principle to a new deal that could keep him in an Indianapolis uniform for the rest of his career. He is expected to sign his contract Wednesday.
Players released Tuesday include Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman, Texans tackle Eric Winston and backup quarterback Matt Leinart, Cardinals tackle Levi Brown and San Diego tackle Marcus McNeill.
Star linebacker-defensive end Mario Williams arrived in Buffalo, where he is the Bills’ first priority in free agency.
And five-time All Pro Steve Hutchinson, a former Seahawk, visited Tennessee. The veteran guard could boost the offense line for the Titans, who also have interest in Manning.
• The NFL has suspended Packers DE Mike Neal without pay for the team’s first four games of the 2012 regular season for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
• Broncos LB D.J. Williams and DL Ryan McBean are suing the NFL seeking to overturn their six-game drug suspensions.
The lawsuit filed in Denver District Court contends the league violated protocol in collecting their urine samples and refused to clear the players after the collector was fired for not following proper procedures.