Monday, March 2, 2009
NFL free-agency roundup: March 2
ESPN.com news services
SOURCE: BRONCOS ADD DT FIELDS
The Denver Broncos reached agreement Monday with their ninth unrestricted free agent in four days when they reached a two-year, $5 million deal with San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ronald Fields, according to a source.
With the switch to the 3-4 defense, the Broncos were in search of a nose tackle, and Fields was a good fit because he had worked with Broncos defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, the former head coach of the 49ers. Fields was a fifth-round choice of the 49ers in 2005.
At 6-feet-2, 321 pounds, Fields will compete for the starting nose tackle position. He spent three of his four years as the 49ers backup nose tackle, In 2006, he started nine games and had 28 tackles.
-- ESPN.com's John Clayton
LIONS ADD WR BRYANT JOHNSON
The Detroit Lions signed free agent receiver Bryant Johnson to a three-year contract on Monday, adding the former first-round draft pick to complement rising star Calvin Johnson.
The Lions traded receiver Roy Williams during last season and released receiver Mike Furrey last month.
Bryant Johnson had 45 receptions for 546 yards and three touchdowns last year, his only season with the San Francisco 49ers, after five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
TITANS GET HAYE, WASHINGTON
The Titans gained two free agents at positions they lost over the past three days when the reached agreements with Buccaneers defensive tackle Jovan Haye and Steelers wide receiver Nate Washington.
Though Haye isn't expected to come in and fill the void for departed defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, Haye is expected to play in the defensive tackle rotation. He agreed to a four-year, $16.2 million deal, according to a source.
Haye bounced around the NFL until he came into his own with the Tampa Bay Bucs over the past three seasons. The former sixth-round pick of the Carolina Panthers played with the Cleveland Browns in 2006 and the Bucs the past three years.
The 6-foot-2, 285-pound Haye is only 26 years old. He's started 30 games over the past two seasons. His best was in 2007 when he had 68 tackles and six sacks.
Washington was an undrafted Steelers receiver who had his season in 2007. He caught 40 passes for 631 yards. Over the weekend, the Titans lost wide receiver Brandon Jones to San Francisco.
-- ESPN.com's John Clayton
CARDS SIGN LEWIS, OTHERS
The Arizona Cardinals have signed free agent safety Keith Lewis to a two-year contract.
The team also announced Monday it had re-signed punter Ben Graham to a two-year contract and backup quarterback Brian St. Pierre to a one-year deal. Terms weren't disclosed
Lewis was waived by San Francisco last month. A sixth-round draft pick out of Oregon in 2004, he played mostly on special teams for the 49ers.
The Australian Graham signed with the Cardinals last Dec. 1. In eight games with Arizona, Graham averaged 40.4 yards per kick.
St. Pierre was the Cardinals' third quarterback, coming to Arizona from Pittsburgh in 2006.
NINERS GET BACK NORRIS
The San Francisco 49ers re-signed fullback Moran Norris to a three-year contract Monday, welcoming back the burly run-blocker after releasing him last summer.
Norris, an eight-year NFL veteran, played for the 49ers from 2006-07. He was the lead blocker for Frank Gore when the running back led the NFC in rushing with 1,695 yards in 2006, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl.
San Francisco dropped Norris after training camp last season because former offensive coordinator Mike Martz's offense didn't make much use of a fullback. Norris signed with the Detroit Lions, starting eight games in their 0-16 season.
When Jimmy Raye was hired to replace Martz in late January, coach Mike Singletary confirmed the 49ers' intention to implement a run-based offense. San Francisco quickly moved to re-sign Norris, who was eager to reteam with Gore.
PATS SIGN EX-JET BAKER
The Patriots signed tight end Chris Baker, who played seven seasons with the Jets.
Baker has 145 career receptions for 1,505 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was selected by the Jets in the third round of the 2002 draft from Michigan State and played in 98 regular-season games.
For the Patriots, Baker will provide depth at the tight end position behind Benjamin Watson and David Thomas, who are entering the final years of their contracts.
The Patriots on Monday also re-signed offensive lineman Russ Hochstein. The versatile eight-year veteran has filled in at guard, center and tackle during his time in New England. He also played fullback and tight end in some short yardage situations last season.
BRONCOS ADD DAVIS TO REVAMPED D
The Denver Broncos have signed linebacker Andra Davis as they continue to revamp their defense.
Davis, who was signed Monday, fits in with the Broncos' plans to convert to a 3-4 defense since he played in a similar scheme with Cleveland.
Davis spent seven seasons with the Browns, finishing second on the team in tackles in 2008.
The Broncos have made defense a high priority after ranking at or near the bottom in every major defensive category last year, when they surrendered 448 points.
They've retooled their secondary, bringing in Andre' Goodman, Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill. They also added depth at defensive line with Darrell Reid, a special teams standout who can play defensive end or linebacker in the 3-4 system.
BENGALS KEEP LINEBACKER BLACKSTOCK
Cincinnati linebacker Darryl Blackstock agreed Monday to stay with the Bengals, who have taken two hits to their offense in the first days of free agency.
Blackstock, an unrestricted free agent, started four games last season and appeared in eight others, getting 17 tackles. He was suspended for four games by the NFL for using a performance-enhancing substance.
The Bengals also re-signed defensive lineman Orien Harris, a second-year player who appeared in 14 games last season.
The Bengals have lost right tackle Stacy Andrews, who signed with Philadelphia, and second-string quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who went to Buffalo as a free agent.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.