Saturday, February 28, 2009
Updated: March 1, 11:32 AM ET
NFL free-agency roundup: Feb. 28
ESPN.com news services
GIANTS, BOLEY SEAL DEAL
The New York Giants bolstered their defense Saturday, signing former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Michael Boley to a five-year, $25 million contract.
The 26-year-old Boley is excellent in pass coverage and is expected to be given a shot at winning the weakside job.
The change of scenery also should be good for Boley. His career seemed to be on the rise in 2007 when he made 107 tackles with the Falcons. However, his role declined when Mike Smith took over as coach last season, and he lost his job late in the season.
-- The Associated Press
HANGARTNER LEAVES PANTHERS FOR BILLS
Free-agent offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner has signed with the Buffalo Bills, becoming the first addition to their rebuilding line.
The deal was announced by the Bills on Saturday after the former Carolina Panthers player spent the day meeting with team executives and coaches. A fifth-round draft pick from Texas A&M in 2005, Hangartner played both center and right guard for the Panthers.
The Bills have needs at both positions after releasing left guard Derrick Dockery on Thursday and after electing not to re-sign starting center Duke Preston and backup Melvin Fowler this offseason. Listed at 6-foot-5, 301 pounds, Hangartner appeared in 16 games and made eight starts last season.
-- The Associated Press
JONES JOINS SAN FRANCISCO
The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receiver Brandon Jones to a five-year, $16.5 million deal, with $5.4 million of it guaranteed.
Jones, an unrestricted free agent who played with the Tennessee Titans last season, was third on the team with 41 catches for 449 yards and one touchdown.
STINCHCOMB OFF THE MARKET
One of the most intriguing offensive linemen available in free agency, right tackle Jon Stinchcomb, is returning to the Saints, ESPN.com has learned.
Although some contract details remain to be finalized, Stinchcomb and the Saints have agreed in principle to the parameters of the contract. The deal is expected to be officially completed in the next few days.
A second-round pick in 2003, Stinchcomb has started all 16 games in each of the past three seasons. Although not a prototype strongside blocker, Stinchcomb has great strength and is very effective.
In six seasons, Stinchcomb, 29, has appeared in 58 games and made 48 starts. He overcame a season-ending knee injury in 2005 to become a stalwart on the New Orleans blocking unit. Stinchcomb moved into the starting lineup in 2006.
-- Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com
LIONS SECURE MORRIS, KING
The Detroit Lions have signed running back Maurice Morris to a three-year deal and cornerback Eric King to a two-year contract. The team announced the deals with the free agents on Saturday.
Morris rushed for 574 yards and caught 19 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns for Seattle in 2008. King spent the past three seasons with Tennessee and was placed on injured reserve in November.
The Lions also lured wide receiver Bryant Johnson to leave the 49ers. The two parties agreed to a three-year, $9 million contract. Johnson caught 45 passes for 546 yards and three touchdowns last season with the 49ers.
-- ESPN.com's John Clayton and The Associated Press
FUDGE STAYS WITH FALCONS
Safety Jamaal Fudge, claimed by Atlanta off waivers from Jacksonville in the fall, agreed to a one-year deal to remain with the
Falcons, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"Jamaal has been with Coach [Mike] Smith since his days in Jacksonville," Fudge's agent, David Wyatt, told the Journal-Constitution. "He called to tell Jamaal that he was important to the team's plans."
Fudge, 25, was mostly a special-teams player last season, and backed up Lawyer Milloy, but will have a chance to compete for the starting job, according to the Journal-Constitution.
KLEINSASSER CHOOSES TO STAY NEAR HOME
Jim Kleinsasser, mentally prepared to leave but wanting to stay with the Vikings, got his wish at the end, agreeing to a three-year, $9 million contract.
Kleinsasser, a tight end who has spent all 10 seasons of his career with the Vikings, received a number of offers right after the free-agent market opened. But he is from North Dakota and was a second-round pick out of North Dakota in 1999. In addition, his wife, Christa, is from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and he did not want to have everyone pack up and leave.
"It's nice to have it all over with, that's for sure," Kleinsasser told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "Being able to stay here near our friends and family is nice. It would have been tough to leave Minnesota, but in the same aspect, you want to get fair value."
Kleinsasser has just 164 catches for 1,466 yards in his career, but the Vikings value him more for his primary strength, which is blocking.