03/11 17:57 CDT Ware's Dallas exit biggest early free agency move
Ware's Dallas exit biggest early free agency move
AP Pro Football Writer
The biggest move at Tuesday's start of the NFL free-agency signing period was a
departure: Franchise sack leader DeMarcus Ware was released by the Dallas
Cowboys to create room under the salary cap.
"A decision like this, involving a man who is a cornerstone player in the
history of your franchise, is extremely difficult," Cowboys owner and general
manager Jerry Jones said. "We were also in very strong agreement that playing
for the Dallas Cowboys would be one of the options we would both be exploring."
With the cap rising $10 million to a record $133 million, a crop of players
quickly found new homes as soon as the market officially opened Tuesday
afternoon --- and offensive linemen were a popular commodity.
Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert and the Miami Dolphins agreed to a
five-year contract worth more than $45 million, according to a person familiar
with the negotiations, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of
anonymity because the team hadn't made an announcement.
Albert takes over the position played at the start of last season by Jonathan
Martin, who left the Dolphins in October, leading to an NFL inquiry into
bullying on the team.
Left tackle Jared Veldheer and the Arizona Cardinals agreed to a five-year
contract worth $35 million, with $17 million guaranteed. Veldheer left the
Oakland Raiders, who replaced him by giving former Rams lineman Rodger Saffold
a five-year deal.
Another left tackle, Eugene Monroe, agreed to a five-year contract to stay with
the Baltimore Ravens.
Guards switching teams: Zane Beadles was expected sign a five-year deal to join
the Jacksonville Jaguars from the Denver Broncos, pending a physical; the
Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms with Jon Asamoah, who was with the Kansas City
Chiefs; the Washington Redskins struck a deal with Shawn Lauvao, who left the
Cleveland Browns. The Redskins also agreed to terms with special teams standout
Adam Hayward and scheduled a visit with cornerback Corey Graham.
The Jaguars also were busy, announcing they re-signed cornerback Will Blackmon
to a two-year deal, traded quarterback Blaine Gabbert to San Francisco for a
sixth-round draft pick, and scheduled a visit with free-agent linebacker Dekoda
Watson. Gabbert was the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft.
The Chicago Bears made a series of moves to try to improve their defense,
agreeing to a five-year contract with former Raiders end Lamarr Houston and a
two-year contract with former Steelers and Giants safety Ryan Mundy, along with
one-year deals with linebackers Jordan Senn and D.J. Williams.
Other players changing teams: kick returner and receiver Dexter McCluster
agreed to terms with the Tennessee Titans, leaving the Chiefs; defensive end
Arthur Jones joined the Indianapolis Colts from the Baltimore Ravens; safety
Antoine Bethea went to the 49ers from the Colts; safety Malcolm Jenkins agreed
to a three-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, leaving the New Orleans
Saints; defensive end Tyson Jackson and defensive tackle Paul Soliai both
joined the Falcons; and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell left the Houston Texans
to go to the Dolphins.
Still, Ware's exit from Dallas was the most significant early development.
The 31-year-old Ware, who had 117 sacks and went to seven Pro Bowls while with
the Cowboys, was set to count $16 million against the salary cap. By releasing
him now, the Cowboys, who were right up against the cap, saved more than $7
Ware had a career-low six sacks last season, his ninth in Dallas. He missed
time with a thigh injury, then had offseason elbow surgery.
Others released included Bills quarterback Kevin Kolb (who failed a physical),
Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud, Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley, 49ers
cornerback Carlos Rogers, Eagles safety Patrick Chung, and Bengals center Kyle
Among players staying with their teams thanks to new deals reached Tuesday:
---RB Darren McFadden was given a $4 million, one-year contract by the Raiders.
---KR-WR Brandon Tate re-signed with the Bengals.
---PK Adam Vinatieri, the 41-year-old with four Super Bowl rings, agreed to a
two-year contract with the Colts. Other PKs getting new contracts: Nick Folk
(Jets), Phil Dawson (49ers), Dan Carpenter (Bills).
---CB Vontae Davis re-signed with the Colts.
---RB Joique Bell is now signed with the Lions for $9.3 million over three
years, with $4.3 million guaranteed.
---LB Perry Riley and the Redskins agreed to a deal worth about $13 million
over three years, with about $4.25 million in guaranteed money. Washington also
re-signed WR Santana Moss.
---DT Jonathan Babineaux got a three-year contract from the Falcons.
---TE Anthony McCoy got a one-year deal from the Super Bowl champion Seahawks
after he missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon.
--- WR Andre Caldwell got a two-year contract from the Broncos.
AP Sports Writers Bob Baum, Tim Booth, Schuyler Dixon, Josh Dubow, Larry Lage,
Mark Long, Michael Marot, Janie McCauley, Paul Newberry, Teresa M. Walker,
Dennis Waszak Jr., John Wawrow, Joseph White and Steven Wine contributed to
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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org