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Friday, February 29, 2008
Updated: March 1, 12:37 PM ET
After getting ring with Giants, Mitchell opts for deal with Bills

ESPN.com news services

Linebacker Kawika Mitchell took a chance in free agency last winter and ended up with a Super Bowl ring as a member of the New York Giants.

On Friday, Mitchell chased the money, and landed a multi-year contract with the Buffalo Bills. The deal is for $17.5 million over five years, with a $3.5 million signing bonus.

The five-year veteran started all 16 games for the Giants last season after being the team's only notable free-agent addition a year ago. He finished with 87 tackles, 3½ sacks and an interception -- which he returned for a touchdown against the Bills.

He also had a fumble return for a TD and added two sacks in four playoff games, including one in the Giants' Super Bowl win over New England.

The Bills are aggressively trying to improve their defense. Mitchell's signing helps their linebacking corps, and the Bills have Jaguars defensive tackle Marcus Stroud in their building Friday for a visit.

The Bills terminated the contract of veteran tackle Larry Tripplett.

-- ESPN.com's John Clayton and The Associated Press

JENKINS GETS A NEW START IN NEW YORK
The Carolina Panthers traded three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kris Jenkins to the New York Jets for third- and fifth-round draft picks.

The Jets then came to terms with Jenkins on a new five-year contract worth $35 million, including $20 million in guaranteed money.

The deal Friday ends a tumultuous year for Jenkins, 28. He also was placed on the trading block last year and angered the coaching staff for being overweight and missing offseason workouts. Jenkins played all 16 games last season but made only 2 sacks. Near the end of the season he said he wasn't sure he wanted to return to Carolina next season.

At 6-4 and 349 pounds, Jenkins could move to nose tackle in the Jets' 3-4 defensive scheme.

"Kris is extremely excited to be going to New York," said Jenkins' agent, Tony Paige. "He leaves Carolina with no malice or anything like that and is grateful they drafted him and gave him a chance to play. He had a lot of great memories there."

By sending Jenkins to New York, the Panthers avoid paying a $1 million roster bonus and clear about $3 million in salary-cap space. Jenkins was scheduled to make about $6.7 million in base salary in the next two seasons under his old contract.

The Jets hope Jenkins can regain the form that made him one of the NFL's top defensive tackles before missing most of the 2004 and '05 seasons with injuries.

The Jets also signed defensive tackle Sione Pouha to a three-year contract extension. Pouha, who showed marked improvement last season after coming back from a knee injury the previous year, had one year remaining on his rookie contract.

-- The Associated Press

SEAHAWKS KICKER SIGNS WITH RAMS
Seahawks kicker Josh Brown wasted little time finding a new home by reaching an agreement with the division rival St. Louis Rams.

Brown's deal is for five years and $14.2 million, according to The Associated Press.

Brown goes to the Rams on the day longtime Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins retired.

The Seahawks offered to make Brown the highest paid kicker in the league, but a deal wasn't worked out, allowing Brown to hit free agency. He was pursued by the Falcons, Chiefs and Rams and ended up going to a team that plays the Seahawks twice a year.

-- John Clayton, ESPN.com

BRONCOS RELEASE OFT-INJURED WIDEOUT WALKER

Javon Walker got his wish Friday when the Broncos released the oft-injured wide receiver.

Upset with his contract in Green Bay and public criticism by Brett Favre of his threatened holdout, Walker came to Denver from the Packers in a draft day trade in 2006.

His two-year stay in Denver was marked by a brilliant first season and the tragic shooting death of teammate Darrent Williams, who died in his arms.

Walker started last season with two 100-yard games before missing two months following a third operation on his right knee. He was supplanted by Brandon Marshall as the team's top receiver.

The Broncos also released linebacker Ian Gold, who spent seven seasons in Denver sandwiched around a season in Tampa Bay in 2004, and worked out a two-year deal to keep tight end Nate Jackson.

Jackson technically is the team's third-string tight end. Daniel Graham is the starter and top blocker at tight end. Tony Scheffler is the pass-catching tight end.

Jackson received a contract that pays him roughly $1 million a year, but there are escalators in the deal that could allow him to make more depending on his production.

-- The Associated Press and ESPN.com's John Clayton

MCCOWN HOPES TO LIFT DOLPHINS
Josh McCown will try to succeed where 12 others have failed since Dan Marino retired -- at quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.

Free agent McCown signed a two-year contract Friday. He'll bid to become the 13th starting quarterback for Miami since Marino retired following the 1999 season.

The Dolphins also acquired defensive tackle Jason Ferguson from Dallas in a trade, and signed free-agent tight end Sean Ryan, who was drafted by then-Cowboys coach Bill Parcells in 2004.

Parcells became the Dolphins' executive vice president of football operations in December and has since repeatedly raided the Cowboys to make hirings, including new head coach Tony Sparano.

The Dolphins also began the remaking of their linebacker corps, signing unrestricted free agent Reggie Torbor to a four-year, $14 million contract that will pay him about $5 million in bonuses and salary for 2008.

Torbor, 27, had spent all previous four NFL seasons with the New York Giants.

Miami is also trying to sign Arizona Cardinals' free agent Calvin Pace, who visited earlier in the day, and would be the centerpiece of the club's reconfigured linebacker corps. But ESPN.com confirmed that Pace, one of the most highly sought free agents and likely to generate a $6 million-a-year contract with more than $15 million in guarantees, will visit with New York Jets officials on Saturday.

-- The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli

FALCONS RE-SIGN REDMAN, PURSUING TURNER
The Atlanta Falcons backfield began to take shape Friday when the team re-signed quarterback Chris Redman and played host to free-agent running back Michael Turner.

Redman, who finished the 2007 season as the starter, signed a two-year deal.

The Falcons also have quarterbacks Joey Harrington and D.J. Shockley under contract.

Turner, an unrestricted free agent, visited the Falcons on Friday. He has rushed for 1,257 yards with six touchdowns in four years as a backup.

-- The Associated Press

DAVIS SIGNS MULTIYEAR DEAL WITH TEXANS

The Houston Texans signed free agent receiver and kick returner Andre' Davis to a multiyear contract on Friday.

Davis became a star on Houston's special teams last season, returning 32 kickoffs for 968 yards and three touchdowns. With Andre Johnson out for seven games with a knee sprain, Davis also emerged as one of Houston's top receivers. He had 33 catches for 583 yards and three touchdowns.

Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

-- The Associated Press

CHARGERS RE-SIGN VOLEK FOR THREE YEARS
Backup quarterback Billy Volek was on the free-agent market for less than 24 hours before agreeing to a three-year contract to return to the San Diego Chargers.

Terms of the deal Friday weren't immediately available.

-- The Associated Press

CHIEFS RELEASE LAW
Ty Law's short and relatively unproductive career in Kansas City appears to be over.

The Chiefs have told Law he will be released, likely within the next week, according to a team official speaking on the condition of anonymity. Linebacker Kendrell Bell, tight end Jason Dunn and defensive lineman James Reed also are expected to be released as the team continues to purge its roster of older players.

Guard John Welbourn and receiver Eddie Kennison already have been released, and several other veterans will likely follow in the coming weeks as the Chiefs shift their focus to younger players.

Kansas City also agreed to terms on a five-year contract with punter Dustin Colquitt on Thursday, a day before he would have become a free agent. Kansas City's third-round draft pick in 2005, Colquitt was fifth in the NFL with a net average of 39.1 yards.

-- The Associated Press

VIKES LAND FB TAPEH, VISIT WITH BERRIAN
The Minnesota Vikings had an active first day in free agency on Friday, agreeing to terms on a contract with fullback Thomas Tapeh and hosting receiver Bernard Berrian for an official visit.

Tapeh, a collegiate standout at Minnesota, should replace Pro Bowl pick Tony Richardson, who became a free agent at age 36. After injury problems earlier in his career, Tapeh played in all 32 regular-season games over the past two years with the Eagles.

Berrian would be a boost for a position of need if the Vikings are able to sign him. He had 71 catches for 951 yards and five touchdowns for Chicago last season.

-- The Associated Press

BUCCANEERS SPEND SOME DOUGH ON FAINE
Armed with $44 million in salary cap room, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent very little time spending some of their rare bounty, reaching an early Friday morning contract agreement with unrestricted free agent center Jeff Faine, who played with the New Orleans Saints the past two years.

Contract details were not immediately available, but league sources said the deal will make Faine one of the NFL's highest paid centers and surpass the six-year, $36 million contract that another former New Orleans center LeCharles Bentley, signed with Cleveland as a free agent in 2006.

The move upgrades the interior of the Tampa Bay offensive line, where Faine will replace 10-year veteran John Wade as the starter. The Bucs have worked hard to build the line unit in recent years, principally through the draft, and Faine will be flanked on the interior by a pair of young, ascendant guards in Davin Joseph and Arron Sears.

Considered a future Pro Bowl player by Bucs coaches, Joseph was a first-round choice in the 2006 draft and Sears was selected in the second round in 2007.

Faine, 26, has started in all 66 of his appearances in five NFL seasons. Over the last four years, he averaged 14.3 starts and started in 30 games in two years with the Saints. He was acquired by New Orleans from Cleveland in a 2006 trade on draft weekend after playing with the Browns the first three seasons of his career.

The team also announced the signing of linebacker Antoine Cash, who spent last season on injured reserve after appearing in 16 games for the Bucs in 2006.

-- The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli

CLEMONS JOINS EAGLES

Having added prized cornerback Asante Samuel to their secondary on Friday, the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday will bolster their pass rush by signing unrestricted free agent linebacker/defensive end Chris Clemons of the Oakland Raiders.

ESPN.com has learned that Clemons reached a Friday night contract agreement. He and agent Don Henderson will fly to Philadelphia on Saturday to sign the contract, details of which were not yet available.

With eight sacks for the Raiders in 2007, when he was principally used as a situational pass rusher, Clemons is the leading sacker in the unrestricted free agent pool.

Clemons, 26, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2003 with the Washington Redskins. The former University of Georgia star wasn't even in the NFL in 2006 and was signed by the Raiders almost as an afterthought. In 36 games, he has 36 tackles and 13 sacks.

--Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com

WILLIAMSON TRADE COMPLETED
Jacksonville completed a trade with the Minnesota Vikings for former first-round draft pick Troy Williamson on Friday, again trying to upgrade a lackluster receiving corps.

It's part of a makeover for Jacksonville, which is about $30 million under the salary cap and hoping to close the gap on AFC powers Indianapolis and New England.

The Jaguars decided not to re-sign receiver Ernest Wilford and backup quarterback Quinn Gray, opting to try to improve both positions. It also has given three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcus Stroud permission to seek a trade. Stroud missed eight games the past two seasons because of a nagging ankle injury, and also was suspended four games for violating the league's steroid and related substances policy.

The Jaguars gave the Vikings a sixth-round draft pick for Williamson, who was the seventh overall selection in 2005.

Williamson never lived up to expectations with the Vikings. His biggest problem was hanging onto the ball. He had 79 receptions for 1,067 yards and three touchdowns in three disappointing seasons.

--The Associated Press

RAIDERS, SIMS TO PART WAYS
The Oakland Raiders have notified left tackle Barry Sims that his contract is going to be terminated Friday.

Sims was scheduled to make $4.5 million this season, and the Raiders have been looking at San Francisco 49ers tackle Kwame Harris as a possible option to replacement for Sims.

The 33-year-old Sims has been a great success story for the Raiders. He came to the team as an undrafted free agent in 1999 and started 119 games as a Raider, mostly at left tackle.
-- John Clayton, ESPN.com

SAINTS RE-SIGN YOUNG, SIMONEAU

The Saints re-signed defensive tackle Brian Young and linebacker Mark Simoneau on Friday, the same day they were eligible to become free agents.

"Both Mark and Brian are excellent, hardworking players who have proven to be key contributors on our defense," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said.

Although Simoneau has started the past two seasons, he may slide into a back up role next season behind Jonathan Vilma, who was acquired Friday in a trade with the New York Jets.

Last season, Simoneau's 97 tackles ranked second on the team.

Young was a reliable interior defensive lineman during most of his four seasons with the Saints until injuries and an illness sidelined him for nearly half of 2007. He was briefly the Saints' sack leader last season after getting to quarterbacks three times in three games during the first half of the season.

-- The Associated Press