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Roster-Move Roundup: Warner, Ray Lewis Stay Put & More
Well. ... With both the top offensive free agent, Kurt Warner, and the top defensive free agent, Ray Lewis, agreeing to remain with their current teams, the Cardinals and Ravens respectively, I'm now ready to join NFL Network insider Adam Schefter and proclaim that Day 6 of the 2009 NFL free-agent signing period represented the end of the first wave.

With the flurry of big-name skill players now finished with the process, I'll be backing off the daily Roster-Move Roundups. But the second wave of signings will continue as second-tier players find new homes.

You will continue to find those signings covered in real time in the News & Views section of the site.

In the meantime, we'll get the ball rolling tonight in Arizona, where the Cardinals and Warner agreed Wednesday to a two-year, $23 million deal, with $19 million of the contract guaranteed.

"I think two years is good," Warner said. "I could play at a high level, I could help this team continue to build and take the next step.

"Hopefully over the next couple of years I can leave this team in a good position."

After a brief flirtation with the San Francisco 49ers, Warner directed agent Mark Bartelstein to make another contract proposal to the Cardinals on Tuesday. After negotiating through the night Tuesday the two sides agreed to terms.

The agent confirmed the deal included $19 million in guaranteed money.

"Kurt and I are appreciative of the way the (G.M.) Rod Graves and the Cardinals resolved the negotiations," said Bartelstein.

Additionally, insider John Clayton reports that under the terms of the deal, Warner will receive a $15 million signing bonus and $4 million base in each of the two seasons.

The negotiations ran all Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning. According to Clayton, one of the big breakthroughs came Tuesday when Warner, who had been asking for $14 million to $16 million a year, reduced his asking price to $11.5 million a year, as long as there were substantial guarantees in 2010.

He was also willing to take $1 million less a season if the team successfully satisfied the contract extension demands of wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

Warner has been performing like a top-five quarterback since taking over the Cardinals starting job from Matt Leinart on Oct. 14, 2007. He's thrown 53 touchdown passes in his last 27 starts as the Cardinals starter.

Last season, he completed 67.1 percent of his passes and threw for 4,583 yards. In four playoff games, he completed 92 of 135 yards for 1,147 yards for 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.

As Associated Press sports writer Bob Baum further noted, Warner was the heart and soul of a prolific passing offense that led Arizona to an unexpected run to the Super Bowl. The Cardinals had playoff victories over Atlanta, Carolina and Philadelphia before a thrilling 27-23 loss to Pittsburgh in Tampa.

Warner completed 31 of 43 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns against the Steelers.

"What he has accomplished within the framework of our team and our offense has been critical to what we have built and a big part of our success," Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said of the two-time league MVP and Super Bowl winner in 2000 with the Rams.

As's Michael Fabiano pointed out, the veteran's presence under center also makes it much easier to draft Larry Fitzgerald and Boldin, who remain two of the most valuable wideouts in Fantasy Football.

Had Warner left the Cardinals, the team would have turned to Leinart. That would have made Fitzgerald and Boldin at least somewhat less certain in fantasy circles, despite their individual talents. ...

Also in Arizona. ...'s Adam Caplan reports that Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby has signed his one-year franchise tender. The non-exclusive tender carries a one-year, guaranteed salary of $9.678 million.

Dansby was selected by the Cardinals in the second round of the 2004 draft. This is the second year in a row that Arizona has used their franchise tag on him. ...

In Denver. ... The Broncos continued their unprecedented free-agent buying spree Wednesday by signing not one, but two more veteran running backs.

A few hours after the Broncos signed Lamont Jordan to a two-year, $2.5 million contract, the team finally agreed to the terms of a four-year, $10 million contract with J.J. Arrington.

With former Philadelphia Eagle Correll Buckhalter signed Friday, the Broncos have added three free-agent running backs.

It was the same arrangement reached last Friday, but the deal was hung up for a few days as the two sides haggled over guaranteed money.

Jordan, 30, received a $500,000 signing bonus. So, as Denver Post staffer Mike Klis put it: "Make no mistake, Jordan is not here as a look-see for training camp."

Jordan played last season for the New England Patriots and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is now the Broncos head coach. By signing three tailbacks, McDaniels is bringing another piece of the New England offensive formula to Denver.

The Pats often played three tailbacks, and rarely use a 25-carry workhorse during a game.

According to Klis, Buckhalter likely remain as the Broncos' starting tailback with the more powerful Jordan getting a few series and short-yardage carries. Arrington will compete for the third-down, pass-receiving role.

The signings all but assure current Bronco free-agent tailbacks Michael Pittman and Tatum Bell won't return. It also means the Broncos' holdover tailback stable of Selvin Young, Ryan Torain and Peyton Hillis will have to compete for a roster spot during training camp.

Also in Denver. ... Schefter is reporting that free-agent quarterback Chris Simms has reached agreement with the Broncos on a two-year contract. He will be insurance for starting quarterback Jay Cutler, whose name emerged last week in trade talks.

Simms, 28, spent last season with the Titans after being cut by Tampa Bay. The release ended a bumpy five-year Buccaneers run. Simms landed in then-coach Jon Gruden's doghouse after being the team's starter for 14 games in 2005 and 2006. ...

One more item out of Denver. ... Even before they acquired Jabar Gaffney and signed David Anderson to an offer sheet, and before they knew Brandon Marshall would get into trouble, the Broncos decided to bring back veteran slot receiver Brandon Stokley.

According to the Post, Stokley's return was ensured Feb. 27, in the hours before the opening of NFL free agency, when the Broncos and Stokley agreed to roll his $500,000 unguaranteed roster bonus into his 2009 salary. Then they agreed to guarantee $560,000 of his $1.41 million salary for this season.

So Stokley is back, despite the crowd at receiver.

"When you bring a new coach in, you just never know," Stokley said. "I wasn't sure until I signed that new contract that I was going to be here for another year."

As Klis pointed out, most teams carry four or five receivers on their game-day, 45-man roster. The Broncos have four in Marshall, Eddie Royal, Gaffney and Stokley.

In a related note. ... The Houston Chronicle reports the Texans have matched the three-year $4.5 million offer sheet that Anderson signed with the Broncos last week.

Anderson, who will receive a $1 million signing bonus, is the Texans fourth receiver behind Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter and Andre' Davis.

As a third-year restricted free agent, Anderson had the right to sign an offer sheet with another team, which he did on Friday. The Texans had seven days to match the offer, but elected not to wait until Friday. ...

And finally in Denver. ... Free agent defensive end Kenny Peterson has reached agreement on a three-year deal with the Broncos. Peterson played in 16 games for the Broncos last season, recording 24 tackles and 3.5 sacks. ...

In Cincinnati. ... A day after losing wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the Bengals replaced him by reaching an agreement in principle with former Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles.

Coles agreed in principle to a four-year, $28 million deal, according to Clayton and Schefter. Both sides still have to work on the language of the contract and the guarantees, but the money figures were acceptable to Coles.

As Clayton noted, the deal was a victory for Coles. He turned down a $6 million guaranteed salary from the Jets. To obtain his freedom, Coles voided the final year of his Jets contract and became a free agent.

The Buffalo Bills were his first visit, but talks with the Bengals heated up over the weekend with the possibility of Houshmandzadeh leaving for the Seattle Seahawks. Coles visited the Bengals earlier this week but left without a contract.

The 31-year-old Colts caught 631 passes during his nine-year career with the Jets. He had 8,095 yards and 44 touchdown receptions during his career in New York. ...

In New Orleans. ... The Saints continue to keep their own free agents from leaving the team. On Wednesday the team signed wide receiver Devery Henderson to a four-year contract.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Henderson, 26, is the third player the team has re-signed this offseason, joining linebacker Jonathan Vilma and offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb.

In his fifth season with the Saints, Henderson tied a career high with 32 receptions for 793 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged an eye-popping 24.8 yards per catch.

A 2004 second-round pick of New Orleans, the 5-11, 200-pound speedster owns a career average of 21.6 yards per reception and has 14 touchdowns catches.

The problem, of course, is Henderson's inconsistency. Lance Moore emerged as a much more reliable weapon for the Saints and Fantasy owners (especially those in PPR leagues) last season.

And barring major improvement by Henderson, Marques Colston, Moore and tight end Jeremy Shockey seem all but certain to remain the primary receiving threats.

The loser in this deal?

Henderson's return can't be good news for former first-round pick Robert Meachem, who has come up short since his arrival in 2007. ...

Also in New Orleans. ... The Saints hit one of their free agency goals today with the signing of cornerback Jabari Greer. He also received a four-year deal.

Greer, 5 feet 11, 180 pounds, comes to the Saints after starting 23 games the past two seasons as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills.

Greer, 27, has four career interceptions, including two last season that he returned for touchdowns. He missed the final six games of last season with a knee injury.

The Saints beat out Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Detroit for Greer. ...

In San Francisco. ... Linebacker Takeo Spikes re-signed on Wednesday with the San Francisco 49ers, who also signed veteran quarterback Damon Huard shortly after being spurned by Warner.

Spikes got a two-year deal reportedly worth $6 million to return to the 49ers, who signed him during the preseason last summer. The 11-year pro was a productive tackler and a valuable leader while playing alongside Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, finishing second on the roster with 96 tackles and making three interceptions.

As Associated Press sports writer Greg Beacham noted, Huard is a 12-year pro best known for his lengthy backup stints behind Miami's Dan Marino and New England's Tom Brady. He started 13 games over the past two seasons with Kansas City, but never firmly claimed the Chiefs' starting job during five seasons with the club.

Kansas City released Huard last month. The 35-year-old's signing guarantees the 49ers will have at least two quarterbacks in uniform when they begin their first full team workouts in two weeks.

Shaun Hill, who led San Francisco to five wins in its final seven games, will be back to compete again for the starting job. Singletary hasn't backed Hill as his starter for next season despite Hill's 7-3 record as a starter over the past two years, with the coach saying the 49ers needed to explore several additional options at the position -- including Warner.

The 49ers apparently still are negotiating with former No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith, who must restructure his contract to reduce his $9 million base salary for next season before the club will allow him on the practice field. Smith, who has missed most of the past two seasons with arm injuries, has been out of town on his honeymoon, delaying the restructuring agreement.

General manager Scot McCloughan said last week that the chances of J.T. O'Sullivan's return were "50-50," but the journeyman quarterback who started the first eight games of last season likely is out of the 49ers' plans with Huard's signing. ...

In Tampa Bay. ... That battle for the No. 1 quarterback spot won't be the only one to watch come training camp. As Tampa Tribune staffer Roy Cummings first reported, the Bucs will also stage a battle for the place kicker's job after signing former Jets kicker Mike Nugent to a one-year deal on Wednesday.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Bucs got a steady performance out Matt Bryant during a trying season for the kicker last year, but Bryant struggled hitting kicks of 40 yards or longer, making just five of 11, including going 0 for 3 on kicks of 50 yards or more.

Nugent spent the past four seasons with the New York Jets, connecting on 75-of-92 field goal attempts (.815).

A second-round draft pick of the Jets in 2005, Nugent was injured in Week 1 this past season and missed the rest of the campaign. His best season came in 2006, when he converted on 24-of-27 field goal attempts, including a career-long 54-yarder. ...

In New York. ... The Jets agreed to terms with Jay Feely on a one-year deal Wednesday. The 32-year-old Feely went 24-of-28 on field-goal attempts, including 2-for-2 from 50 yards or longer, for New York last season, his eighth in the NFL. He has an 81.4 career field-goal percentage.

Feely was one of the top free-agent kickers available and Associated Press sports writer Dennis Waszak Jr., the veteran attracted interest from at least four teams.

Replacing the injured Nugent, Feely kicked a winning 34-yard field goal in overtime on Nov. 13 at New England that helped New York take sole possession of first place in the AFC East. He was reliable down the stretch for the Jets, making his last 14 field-goal attempts.

He has also kicked for the Giants, Atlanta and Miami, where he went 21-for-23 on field-goal attempts and set a franchise record with a 91.3 field-goal percentage but was cut last August. He signed a one-year deal with Kansas City, but was cut a day later after losing a "kick off" between him, Connor Barth and Nick Novak. ...

In Oakland. ... Offensive guard Cooper Carlisle and tight end Tony Stewart were signed to contracts Tuesday and the Raiders also announced through the transactions page on their Web site that tackle Erik Pears was signed.

The Raiders also made official the signing of Isaiah Ekejiuba, who agreed to terms Saturday and signed a contract Sunday.

Stewart caught 11 passes in 16 games after catching zero in 16 games in 2007. He is primarily a special teams player and a blocking tight end. ...

Carlisle started 31 of 32 games at right guard over the past two years, was in the process of lining up visits to other teams, but canceled them Sunday as his agent concentrated on getting a deal done with the Raiders. The Raiders lost another offensive line starter, center Jake Grove, earlier in the day to the Miami Dolphins.

Other signings of interest. ...

  • As's Mike Florio first reported this afternoon, Lewis agreed to terms to remain with the Ravens, the team for which he has starred since 1996. According to NFL Network insider Adam Schefter, the deal also is expected to be for less than the three years and $24 million that some have speculated.

    "From beginning to end as a Raven. ... Wow!" To be with the same team with the same fans for an entire career, that doesn't happen in the NFL," said Lewis, who won a championship with the Ravens in 2000. "I don't think an athlete can have a greater legacy than to be able to stay in one place for an entire career."

    Re-signing 10-time Pro Bowler Lewis was a key for Baltimore after it lost linebacker Bart Scott and safety Jim Leonhard to the Jets in free agency. They went to New York to join former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, now head coach of the Jets. ...

    Also according to Florio, the Ravens agreed to terms with center Matt Birk.

    Caplan subsequently confirmed the deal and reported the contract has a two-year term and a total value of $9 million. Per Caplan, the deal contains $6 million in guaranteed money.

    Birk was the last remaining link to the 1998 Vikings team, which won 15 regular-season games before losing the NFC title game to the Falcons. His presence should provide Baltimore's offensive line with an immediate and noticeable boost. ...

    According to the Carroll County Times, the Ravens also re-signed two restricted free agents that weren't tendered a qualifying offer last week: cornerback Evan Oglesby and wide receiver Marcus Maxwell. ...

  • According to NFL Network insider Steve Wyche, the Lions signed veteran free-agent defensive tackle Grady Jackson to a three-year, $8 million contract Wednesday in a move to fortify their interior front.

    Jackson, a 12-year NFL veteran, spent most of the past three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, for whom he played mostly on run downs.

    The 36-year-old, 350-pounder wasn't re-signed as part of a youth movement on Atlanta's defense.

    Jackson, in turn, returns to the NFC North, where he played for the Green Bay Packers from 2003 to 2005. Jackson came into the NFL in 1997 with the Oakland Raiders and has registered 327 tackles and 35.5 sacks in his career. ...

    According to Clayton, the Lions continued to upgrade their tattered secondary by reaching a two-year agreement with Buccaneers cornerback Phillip Buchanon. The 5-11, 186-pound Buchanon agreed to a two-year, $8.5 million contract.

    Buchanon started 29 games over the past two seasons. He had 113 combined tackles during those two seasons along with intercepting five passes. The Lions signed him with hopes that he is in his prime at the age of 28. ...

  • The Buffalo Bills on Wednesday re-signed offensive lineman Kirk Chambers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Chambers, 29, appeared in all 16 games last season, registering two starts at tackle and two at guard. The four-year veteran is expected to be in the starting mix after the Bills released veteran guard Derrick Dockery on February 26. ...

  • According to Schefter, the New York Giants reached agreement Wednesday on a one-year contract with free agent safety C.C. Brown. He now joins defensive end Chris Canty, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and linebacker Michael Boley as New York upgrades its defense.

    That's it for this installment. ... Once again, I'll remind those interested in following along more closely to keep an eye on the News & Views and ESPN News Feed sections of the site.

    Those looking for a full accounting of this year's movement -- including defensive players -- will find it on the Free Agency page.

    And of course, I'll remind you to check here in the Headline News section for more details stories and in-depth analysis -- including the Weekly Fantasy Notebook -- throughout the offseason.