The Buccaneers released four players, including
Johnson, who led them to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII over the
Johnson, 36, signed with the Buccaneers as a free agent in 2001
and led them to a Super Bowl title the following year, passing
for 3,049 yards and 22 touchdowns with six interceptions for a
rating of 92.9.
The moves helped general manager Bruce Allen clear more than
$7.4 million in salary cap space.
New England Patriots: Three-year veteran offensive tackle Brandon Gorin, who started 10 games for the Super Bowl champions in 2004, has signed a three-year contract extension with the team, ESPN.com has learned.
The contract is worth at least $2.5 million but it's total value can escalate to $5.1 million if Gorin retains his starting job. Without an extension, Gorin would have been a restricted free agent, and New England likely would have retained a right of first refusal on him by making him a one-year qualifying offer.
Gorin, 26, assumed the starting role when right tackle Tom Ashworth was sidelined by a severe back problem in late October that subsequently ended his season. In addition to his 10 starts in the regular season, Gorin started all three of New England's playoff victories, including their Super Bowl XXXIX win. He is expected to compete with Ashworth for the starting job in training camp.
Coakley, one of the smallest linebackers in the league at
5-foot-10, 236 pounds, would have been due a $500,000 roster bonus
if he was still on the team Wednesday.
Coach Bill Parcells also prefers bigger linebackers, especially
if the Cowboys make the expected switch to a primary three-man
The 32-year-old Coakley started all 16 games last season, but
shared significant time with Bradie James, selected in the second round of the 2003 draft by Parcells. A third-round pick in 1997, Coakley started all 127 of his games and is fourth on the Cowboys' career tackles list with 1,046.
It was unclear whether the Cowboys tried to restructure the
six-year, $25 million contract that Coakley signed after the 2000
season. Coakley's agent, Pat Dye, didn't return phone messages
Foote, a restricted free agent, started all 16 games in 2004 and both playoff games after replacing injured starter Kendrell Bell. The inside linebacker had 78 tackles and three sacks last season.
Foote, who joined the Steelers in 2002 as a fourth-round draft pick, was the first of the team's restricted free agents to
re-sign. The team also has made qualifying offers to running back
Verron Haynes, safety Chris Hope, defensive end Brett Keisel, wide
receiver Lee Mays and kicker Jeff Reed.
Buchanan, due to make $1 million this season, is a likely
candidate to be re-signed by the team for less money after he
started all 16 games at free safety last season and became a
Middleton ended last season on injured reserve with a torn left
quadriceps muscle. He said after the season he expects to be fully
recovered by training camp and hoped the Raiders would keep him
around. But the team certainly considered him a financial risk
since he has a $2 million salary for the upcoming season.
Williams played for the Raiders in 2001 and during the team's
Super Bowl season of '02, though he was plagued by injuries most of
that season. He returned to the team last year but was again
limited by injury.
Faggins developed as a dependable third cornerback last season, and the Texans wanted to give him a good contract in return for his efforts.
Jaguars safety Donovin Darius signed his one-year, $4.935 million franchise tender, ending chances of him being a holdout. Darius' decision to sign the tender could mean one of two things. One, he could stay a Jaguar with a guaranteed contract. Secondly, he can be traded quickly. The Lions are interested in a possible trade for Darius.
The team also cut center Grey Ruegamer, who filled in when Mike
Flanagan went down with a season-ending knee injury in the first
month of last season.
The Packers re-signed wide receiver/kick returner Antonio Chatman and defensive end R-Kal Truluck to one-year deals and they
tendered offers to six restricted free agents: tackle Kevin Barry,
running back Najeh Davenport, defensive end Aaron Kampman,
linebacker Paris Lenon and quarterbacks Craig Nall and J.T. O'Sullivan.
Wahle was the Packers' starter at left guard for the last four
seasons and played in 103 consecutive games. He helped the Packers
establish franchise records in total net yards (6,357) and net
passing yards (4,449), and its franchise low for sacks allowed
But because of the way his contract was structured, his cap
number for 2005 was a prohibitive $11.337 million, second only to
quarterback Brett Favre.
San Francisco 49ers: The team terminated defensive end Brandon Whiting's contract Tuesday after he failed a physical, cutting ties with the oft-injured defensive end acquired last year in the Terrell Owens trade.
Whiting was sent to San Francisco by the Philadelphia Eagles
last March in exchange for Owens, who missed his chance to become a
free agent because of a paperwork mix-up.
Whiting played just five games for the 49ers after getting a
late start on training camp because of a back injury. He tore a
knee ligament in late October and missed the rest of the season.
Whiting was a starter during parts of his six seasons in
Philadelphia, with 16 1/2 sacks in 88 games. The 49ers are expected to
use a 3-4 defensive alignment next season under new coach Mike
Nolan, reducing their need for depth on the defensive line.
Angelo Wright said he expects his client, a four-year starter
with the Bills, to sign with another team now that the NFL's
free-agency period opened Wednesday.
The Bills were also expected to lose starting offensive tackle
Jonas Jennings, who said Tuesday he was convinced there was no
chance the team would re-sign him.
Their losses represent a significant blow to a team that was
considered on the rise, finishing 9-7 last year, missing the
playoffs after a season-ending loss to Pittsburgh.
Seattle Seahawks: The team tendered contract offers to all five of the team's restricted free agents.
The Seahawks can match any offer the five free agents receive from other teams. If any of the five sign with another team, Seattle will be compensated with a draft pick from the round in which the player was originally drafted.
The 49-year-old Smith is a 17-year NFL coaching veteran and
spent the past two seasons as the assistant head coach and
linebackers coach with the Lions.
"He is one of the most respected coaches in the league, who
possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience," Saban said. "I
coached with him in Houston in 1988 and 1989, and I've always
thought he was one of the best coaches I've had the chance to work
Before joining the Lions, Smith spent six seasons as linebackers
coach for the San Francisco 49ers, where he tutored four Pro
Bowlers: Julian Peterson in 2002, Winfred Tubbs in 1998 and Ken
Norton, Jr. and Lee Woodall in 1997.
Smith also coached with the Denver Broncos (1993-96) and Oilers
(1988-92). A Fresno State alumnus, he also coached collegiately at
Arizona, California, Cal State-Fullerton and Rio Hondo (Calif.)
Information from ESPN.com senior NFL writers John Clayton and Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.