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Roster-Move Roundup: Browns, Jags, Fins Jump Right In
The 2008 NFL free-agent signing period officially began in the wee hours this morning and the activity level has been high since. In addition to the usual to-and-fro surrounding recruiting visits and the almost non-stop rumors that have become as much a part of the process as actual deals (feel free to follow along in the News & Views section), the signings have come at a brisk pace with the Browns, Jaguars and Dolphins among those setting the tone on Day 1.

Of course, the biggest news might have been the one thing we didn't see: No deal for Randy Moss.

And according to's John Clayton and NFL Network insider Adam Schefter, the Patriots and Moss aren't even close to a deal. ... And Moss is starting to listen to offers from other teams.

As a free agent, Moss is available to the highest bidder. He would like to stay in New England and with Tom Brady, but he could be available for the right offer. It is not known how many teams and which teams contacted him, but Clayton believes those offering somewhere in the $10 million per year range have a shot a luring Moss away from the Patriots. ... We shall see.

And with that out of the way. ... We'll get the ball rolling in Cleveland, where Derek Anderson wasn't a free agent for long.

As staffer Zac Jackson noted, general manager Phil Savage predicted it would go to the eleventh hour. Then it went about 11 hours more, into the open free agency period.

But Anderson and the Browns agreed to terms on a new, long-term contract Friday that keeps the quarterback in Cleveland and allows the Browns to attack free agency period already having accomplished their top two offseason signing goals.

"This is where I want to be," Anderson said. "I told my agent, 'Let's do the right things to get that taken care of.' In my heart, I knew I was going to get back."

According to Schefter, the full value of the contract to be $26 million over three years, along with the opportunity to earn more via incentives. The deal includes $14.5 million in guaranteed money. Other reports suggest the deal is worth somewhat less.

Associated Press sports writer Tom Withers is reporting the deal is worth $23 million with $13 million guaranteed.

Whatever the case, Anderson returns to the starting job he took over in Week 2 of the 2007 regular season. He threw for almost 4,000 yards and led the Browns to 10 wins, their most since 1994.

His rise from backup to Pro Bowler came just two seasons after the Browns claimed him off waivers from the Ravens, who drafted Anderson in the sixth round in 2005. He spent most of his rookie season as the Browns' third quarterback and the first 12 games of 2006 as the backup before getting a chance to see his first significant action.

The Browns had extended the highest possible tender to Anderson as he prepared to hit restricted free agency, meaning they would have received first and third round picks as compensation had Anderson signed with another team.

But Anderson's signing takes him off the market and gives the Browns the kind of quality depth at the quarterback position they've rarely had in the past.

Behind Anderson is Brady Quinn, who made just one relief appearance in his rookie season after the Browns traded this year's first-round pick to get back into last year's first round and draft Quinn.

The Browns know both Anderson and Quinn want to play though only one can, but they feel the team is best by keeping both.

Savage believed if Anderson had gotten an offer from another team, the Browns probably wouldn't have been able to keep him. The Browns had been prepared to turn their offense over to Brady Quinn.

"Our whole intention is to keep both," Savage said Thursday, when it was unclear whether Anderson would sign or test the market. "At some point we know we have to make a decision.

"That point could come as soon as the next few days or it could come two years from now. Who knows?"

I would suggest that's certainly a question Quinn is thinking about.

And there are apparently more than a few people out there who think it might come sooner rather than later. editor Mike Florio advised readers tonight that he has been "flooded with e-mails" from folks peddling rumors that the Browns might have signed Anderson to a three-year contract merely in advance of trading him.

As much as we all like a good rumor, where's the beef on this one?

Well. ... Florio notes the first payment on this deal isn't due until April. Which certainly leaves the door open to moving Anderson via trade without incurring a punitive cap hit?

Interesting, but unsubstantiated and unlikely. ...

Meanwhile, the Browns had Donte' Stallworth in for a visit Friday and are scheduled to bring Drew Carter in on Sunday making it look very much like an infusion of speed opposite Braylon Edwards is something they desire.

Veteran Joe Jurevicius, the incumbent No. 2, would like to play another year. The addition of a speedster to take over the No. 2 spot wouldn't preclude Jurevicius' return, but it would certainly change his role. ...

In Jacksonville. ... The Jaguars made significant changes to their receiving corps and added depth at quarterback Friday. This after the team agreed to terms with former Raider Jerry Porter and completed a trade for former Vikings first-round draft pick Troy Williamson.

The Jaguars also agreed to terms with backup quarterback Cleo Lemon, who insider Alex Marvez reports will move immediately into the No. 2 spot behind David Garrard.

The moves are part of a makeover for Jacksonville, which finished 11-5 last season and beat Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs. Jacksonville decided not to re-sign receiver Ernest Wilford, who signed with Miami today, and backup quarterback Quinn Gray, opting to try to improve both positions.

Jacksonville gave Minnesota a sixth-round draft pick for Williamson, the seventh overall selection in 2005. It equates to a low-risk deal that could give the Jaguars a deep threat they haven't had since Jimmy Smith retired following the 2005 season.

Williamson will need to start hanging onto the ball, though. He had 79 receptions for 1,067 yards and three touchdowns in three disappointing, drop-filled seasons.

Williamson has two years remaining on his contract. He's scheduled to make $910,000 in 2008 and $1.4 million in 2009.

But as senior writer Len Pasquarelli suggested, the prize on Jacksonville's busy day was clearly Porter, who agreed to a six-year, $30 million deal that includes $10 million guaranteed.

Head coach Jack Del Rio expects him to step into the No. 1 role.

Since Smith retired in 2005, the Jaguars haven't had a wideout catch more than 52 passes in a season. Wilford led the Jags with 45 receptions last season.

Porter caught 44 passes for 705 yards and six touchdowns last season in Oakland. He had just one reception in 2006. The former West Virginia star, a second-round pick in 2000, has 284 career catches for 3,339 yards and 30 touchdowns.

His best seasons in Oakland were in 2004 and 2005, when he had 140 catches for 1,940 yards and 14 touchdowns.

In all, Porter appeared in 105 games for the Raiders.

Porter fell out of favor with then-Raiders coach Art Shell in 2006, appearing in just four games and catching only one pass. He had 44 receptions for 705 yards and six touchdowns in 2007, playing in 16 games.

Porter then exercised the right void his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.

In Miami. ... In addition to adding Wilford, the Dolphins acquired what's likely to be their new starting quarterback Friday by agreeing to a contract with Oakland's Josh McCown.

According to Palm Beach Post staffer Edgar Thompson, the deal is for two years and a total of $6.25 million.

McCown, 28, has started 31 NFL games in six seasons, including his first four years in Arizona. He was with Detroit in 2006 but didn't throw a pass. Last season, McCown started nine games for the Raiders, sharing time with ex-Dolphin Daunte Culpepper while the team groomed No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell.

McCown finished with 10 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.

Now he'll bid to become the 13th starting quarterback for Miami since Marino retired following the 1999 season.

As Thompson suggested, McCown, who has thrown 35 touchdowns and 40 interceptions in his career, has shown flashes of brilliance mixed with inconsistency.

In Week 13 last season, McCown was 14-of-21 with three touchdowns in a win against Denver. But he also had two games with three interceptions each.

The Dolphins' quarterback situation was unsettled throughout their 1-15 season in 2007. Trent Green, Lemon and John Beck combined for 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

Beck, the No. 40 pick in last April's draft, remains with the Dolphins, who released Green and didn't renew Lemon's contract. Green's career is in doubt because of concussions -- although he has been medically cleared and is drawing some interest from the Rams, Saints and Giants. ...

Wilford, meanwhile, is the second receiver who will join the team in as many days, as the team signed former Broncos receiver David Kircus on Thursday.

According to Miami Herald beat writer Armando Salguero, Wilford will be signing a four-year deal worth $13 million with a whopping $6 million signing bonus considering he is not assured of being a starter.

"Ernest has great respect for [Dolphins president Bill] Parcells even though he's not the coach," agent Drew Rosenhaus told Salguero. "It's a great fit for Ernest and I think for the Dolphins. Now it's up to him to come in and work hard and compete."

Salguero went on to remind readers that Wilford is a bigger more accomplished Derek Hagan. He is 6-4 and 218 pounds. He caught 45 passes for 518 yards last season with 3 touchdowns. He started 14 of 16 games. ...

The Dolphins also added free-agent tight end Sean Ryan, formerly of the Jets, and 49ers guard Justin Smiley on Friday.

As New York Newsday staffer Tom Rock suggested, Ryan arrived at the Jets behind the urging of Parcells, so the reunion in Miami isn't a major surprise.

Smiley reportedly received five-year, $25 million contract with a $9 million signing bonus. ...

In San Francisco. ... Schefter is reporting the 49ers have signed Isaac Bruce to a two-year contract. Pasquarelli reports the deal is worth $6 million.

And it comes as no real surprise here. ... As suggested in Thursday's Roster-Move Roundup, Bruce made a beeline for San Francisco upon his release by the Rams.

The move reunites Bruce with Mike Martz, who was the Rams' offensive coordinator for their only Super Bowl win and thereafter the head coach for six seasons.

As Pasquarelli reminded readers, Martz was hired by the 49ers last month as the team's third different offensive coordinator in three year with the hope he could improve the play of quarterback Alex Smith, who struggled with injuries and production last year.

The addition of Bruce could help Smith's production.

Also worth noting, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat beat writer Matt Maiocco points out that Bruce was the only receiver the 49ers were pursuing. General manager Scot McCloughan on Thursday pointed to a dearth of No. 1 receivers in free agency and suggested this year's crop of available talent doesn't have much value for the buck.

Adding to their concerns, Martz' offense is complex, especially for receivers. Bruce would be the only receiver with prior knowledge of the system.

Oh yeah. ... He also happens to rank No. 3 all time in NFL receiving yards behind Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. ...

And debunking another theory proposed in last night's Roundup -- one suggesting the decision to sign Michael Robinson to a three-year, multi-million dollar extension was an indication the Niners were no longer interested in DeShaun Foster. ...

The Niners, in fact, did indeed reach an agreement with Foster Friday on a one-year contract.

A 2002 second-round pick, Foster has appeared in 63 games over six seasons with the Panthers, who released him earlier this week. Foster, 28, started all 16 games last season and rushed for 876 yards on a career-high 247 carries.

He is the Panthers' career rushing leader with 3,336 yards.

In San Francisco, Foster is expected to serve as a backup to Frank Gore, who has rushed for at least 1,100 yards each of the past two seasons.

As San Francisco Chronicle staffer Kevin Lynch noted, Foster earned a reputation for being injury prone early in his career. But in the last three seasons, the six-year veteran has only missed three games. In that time, he's also caught 126 passes.

Foster has never gained 1,000 yards in a single season, but was unstoppable in the playoffs during Carolina's 2003 Super Bowl, gaining a team-record 151 yards rushing against the Giants.

Kick returner Allen Rossum also signed with the San Francisco 49ers on Friday, joining his fifth NFL team.

Rossum, a 10-year veteran who also plays cornerback, is second in NFL history with 13,269 career return yards and 10,520 kickoff return yards. He ranks first among active players with 2,749 career punt return yards, and has seven career touchdowns, all on kick returns.

Rossum was released by Pittsburgh on Tuesday after a fairly unproductive season with the Steelers, but he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown against San Francisco in September. He's likely to handle kickoff and punt return duties with the 49ers, who probably won't re-sign punt returner Michael Lewis, a free agent.

Rossum made the Pro Bowl with Atlanta in 2004. He also has played for Philadelphia and Green Bay. ...

With Foster and Rossum on board (and given Robinson's extension), Lynch doesn't expect the 49ers to re-sign Maurice Hicks, which is a slight surprise.

According to Lynch, linebackers say Hicks is the most difficult running back to cover, which would make him fit well with Martz. The team apparently wants a more established every-down player to spell Gore. ...

The Niners also added Lions quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan on Friday. O'Sullivan played Martz last year in Detroit. ...

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

As AP sports writer Arnie Stapleton reminded readers, Walker, upset with his contract in Green Bay and public criticism by Brett Favre of his threatened holdout, 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.

Coming off a torn knee ligament that wiped out most of his 2005 season, Walker piled up 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns on 69 catches in 2006. But hours after the season ended, Williams was slain in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in downtown Denver and slumped into Walker's arms in the back of a limousine.

At first, Walker was unsure if he could continue playing in Denver, but he had a stellar training camp and got off to a good start last season, piling up 17 catches for 220 yards through two games before getting hurt.

He was supplanted by Brandon Marshall as the team's top receiver and finished with just 26 catches for 287 yards and no touchdowns.

The Broncos had tried to trade Walker but found no takers and released him to avoid having to pay him a $5.4 million option bonus on March 4.

Walker made it clear toward the end of the season when he was the forgotten man in Denver's offense that he wasn't willing to restructure his contract, and he insisted all he needed was an offseason of rest to return to his Pro Bowl form.

Although he stopped short of demanding a trade like he did in Green Bay, Walker suggested at season's end that he wanted out: "I just don't think it's the best fit for me," he said at the time.

According to Dallas Morning News staffer Albert Breer, Friday's release clears the way for the Cowboys to move in on Walker, who could provide a strong vertical complement to Terrell Owens -- if he can pass a physical, something that has been questioned in recent weeks.

And as Breer pointed out, there have been rumblings that he may need microfracture surgery on his knee down the line. The 6-3, 215-pounder also turns 30 in October.

Still, the Bucs, Eagles and Redskins might share the Cowboys' interest in the once productive veteran. ...

Also in Denver. ... Head coach Mike Shanahan is a big fan of tight ends in his game plan and loves to have as many as he can at his disposal.

With that in mind, the Broncos worked out a two-year deal to keep tight end Nate Jackson, who technically is the team's third-string tight end.

According to Clayton, 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.

Reaching those escalators could be a chore, however, working behind starter Daniel Graham -- a blocking specialist -- and Tony Scheffler, the team's primary pass-catching tight end.

Jackson is the pass-catcher who is considered a role player but a valuable part of the offense. ...

In Washington. ... AP sports writer Joseph White reports that Todd Collins couldn't find a job as a starter, so he's returning as a backup with the Redskins.

On a slow first day of free agency at Redskins Park -- "no visits scheduled," announced executive vice president Vinny Cerrato -- the team's first move Friday was to agree to a three-year, $9 million deal with the quarterback who led the stretch run to the playoffs in December.

New head coach Jim Zorn has made it clear that Jason Campbell will be the starter next season, but he strongly courted Collins to come back as a No. 2. Zorn made another appeal Thursday, over lunch while visiting Collins in Massachusetts.

"Jim told him the first time he talked to him, 'If there's a starting job out there, go get it,"' Cerrato said. "But I think what was out there and what he discovered was all No. 2 jobs. And I think he enjoyed his time here. That's why he came back."

Collins' deal effectively ends Mark Brunell's tenure in Washington. Brunell took the Redskins to the playoffs in 2005 but was demoted to third-string last season and did not play.

Brunell is a free agent after voiding the remainder of his contract, and Cerrato said the Redskins would turn elsewhere for a No. 3 quarterback.

"We'll be looking for a young quarterback in the draft," Cerrato said.

Collins took over when Campbell was lost for the season with a dislocated kneecap in the first half against Chicago on Dec. 6. The Redskins won that game, with Collins earning NFC offensive player of the week honors.

The Redskins then won the final three regular season games-with Collins making his first starts in 10 years -- to snatch the conference's final playoff berth. The winning streak ended with a loss at Seattle in the first round of the playoffs.

Collins' regular season numbers were outstanding: 67-of-105 for 888 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions and a 106.4 rating.

"If Jason were to go down again, it's not like, 'Oh no, the season's over.' We have a guy who's come in before and won games," Cerrato said. "That's why he was such a priority to get. ..."

In San Diego. ... Billy Volek shopped around and decided to stay where he was comfortable and there was a chance to win it all.

"This is a great team," Volek told San Diego Union-Tribune staffer Kevin Acee on Friday, minutes after signing a three-year deal to remain the Chargers' backup quarterback.

We are very excited to have Billy back," Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said. "It gives us continuity at the quarterback position. He is always prepared and ready. With his talent, experience and command of our offense, it's just a great feeling to know he is in the wings."

Volek's return is important for San Diego, because starter Philip Rivers is rehabbing from reconstructive surgery on his right knee.

Volek had a chance for more money and more playing time with some of the other teams his agent spoke with. But apparently Chicago, Minnesota, Oakland and Buffalo don't have what San Diego offers.

"It's fun to go to work," Volek said. "You can't say too much about that. When your teammates care about you, it's fun. I like working with Norv [Turner] and (quarterbacks coach) John Ramsdell. [Rivers] is a great young quarterback, a great leader, and I like working with him."

Of course, it's also fun to get paid. And while the team hasn't released contract details, Florio reports that Volek's deal is worth $9 million with a $3 million signing bonus. ...

In Atlanta. ... The Falcons re-signed quarterback Chris Redman to a two-year deal, his agent, Joby Branion, told Atlanta Journal-Constitution staffer Steve Wyche.

Redman appeared in seven games for the Falcons last season, completing 59.7 percent of his passes for 1,079 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.

According to Wyche, Redman could enter the season as the starter. The Falcons also have quarterbacks Joey Harrington and D.J. Shockley under contract.

Pretty amazing story considering Redman had been out of football for several years, working as an insurance salesman, before then-coach Bobby Petrino brought him back due to his knowledge of Petrino's offensive system.

A great turnaround for Redman. I'm not so sure what it says about the Falcons, though. ...

In St. Louis. ... On a day when the Rams said goodbye to long-time place-kicker Jeff Wilkins, they said hello to his replacement, noted Rams killer Josh Brown.

Wilkins, a veteran of 14 NFL seasons including the past 11 with the Rams, met with team officials Friday morning to inform them that he was retiring. Although not a total shock to team officials, it caught them by surprise.

But the Rams moved quickly to replace Wilkins.

Although initial Internet reports saying Brown already has signed with the Rams were a bit premature, St. Louis Post-Dispatch staffer Jim Thomas reports that Brown has agreed to terms with the Rams and was headed to St. Louis on Friday night to finalize the deal.

Schefter subsequently reported that Brown will sign a five-year, $14.2 million deal, with a $4 million signing bonus making him the highest-paid kicker in league history.

Brown, a five-year pro from Nebraska, has spent his previous five NFL seasons with the Seahawks. He finished seventh in the league in scoring in 2007 with a career-high 127 points, including 28 of 34 field goals. In 2006, Brown kicked a pair of game-winning field goals to defeat the NFC West rival Rams.

Brown's 54-yarder as time expired gave Seattle a 30-28 victory on October 15, 2006 in the Edward Jones Dome. A month later at Qwest Field, Brown's 38-yarder with 9 seconds to play gave Seattle a 24-22 victory. If the Rams win either of those games, they would have been NFC West champions instead of the Seahawks.

Is there anything better -- from an NFL perspective -- than hurting a rival while helping yourself?

Meanwhile, Wilkins' retirement has as much to do with health issues as anything because of a nagging leg and back injury, that possibly could be nerve-related, spread. Various treatments were unsuccessful.

As AP sports writer R.B. Fallstrom noted, Wilkins was so accurate, Martz nicknamed him "Money."

The 35-year-old Wilkins had 1,223 points and 265 field goals with the Rams, finding a home after playing one season for the Eagles and two for the 49ers. He also leads the franchise in field goal attempts (328) and a success rate of 80.8 percent.

He retires having hit 371 consecutive extra-point kicks, a franchise record and tied for the best in NFL history with Jason Elam (1993-2002).

"Jeff has been one of the best kickers that I have ever seen," head coach Scott Linehan said. "We will miss him here, but we also wish him well in retirement."

Wilkins went to the Pro Bowl in 2003 after leading the NFL in scoring with 163 points, going 39-for-42 on field goal attempts that season. He's the only kicker in NFL history to make a field goal as time expired in the first half, second half and to end an overtime. ...

In Tampa Bay. ... The Buccaneers agreed to terms on a three-year contract with Chicago Bears free agent tight end John Gilmore. was the first to report that Gilmore would visit the Bucs on Friday, with the Chicago Sun-Times later confirming it.

After seeing Anthony Becht and Jerramy Stevens hit the free agent market on Friday, the Buccaneers had a need for a blocking tight end to complement starter Alex Smith. That need appears to have been addressed with the addition of 6-5, 257-pound Gilmore, who has 21 career catches for 194 yards and three touchdowns as a reserve player.

In New England. ... The Patriots officially agreed to a new deal with wide receiver Kelley Washington and released tight end Kyle Brady on Friday.

As Boston Globe staffer Mike Reiss noted, Washington didn't see much playing time on offense -- he played in only 37 snaps all last season -- but was a consistent presence on special teams.

Head coach Bill Belichick often said that Washington could be counted on at receiver if called upon, but Washington seemed to be a victim of the team's depth at that spot.

Based on possible changes at receiver in 2008, Reiss believes we could see more opportunities for Washington.

Brady, a 13-year veteran, caught nine passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns last season after being signed by New England last March. He is expected to have shoulder surgery this offseason, a procedure that clouds his future in the league. ...

In Minnesota. ... Thomas Tapeh will be reunited with Brad Childress after agreeing to terms with the Vikings on a contract Friday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tapeh, who turns 28 next month, has spent his entire four-year career with the Eagles, collecting 219 yards of total offense and one touchdown in 39 games.

The 243-pounder spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons playing under Childress, who served as Philadelphia's offensive coordinator before being hired as the Vikings' head coach prior to the 2006 campaign.

Tapeh figures to replace Tony Richardson, an unrestricted free agent, as the lead blocker for Adrian Peterson.

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.

And as always, those looking for something a little more in-depth should keep an eye out here, in the Headline News section.