March 14, 9 a.m.: Brandon Browner, Steve Smith and Julian Edelman might find new homes Friday, or they might find out that free agency doesn’t have to be settled within the first few days of the market opening (contrary to all the action that’s been happening over the last few days).
Jump over to Friday’s NFL free agency live blog to keep up with all the moves.
10:50 p.m.: Brandon Browner’s agent, Peter Schaffer, is lashing out at reports that his client has signed with the Patriots.
Here’s the latest from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.[tweet https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/444301310171430912 align=”center”]
10:29 p.m.: Prospective Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner is in discussions with four teams and is “not even close” to reaching a deal, Browner’s agent, Peter Schaffer, told Adam Schefter of ESPN.
9:53 p.m.: Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will travel to San Francisco to talk with the 49ers on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 49ers also have expressed interest in New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks.
Offensive tackle Donald Penn is scheduled to meet with the Oakland Raiders and also has drawn interest from the Washington Redskins, Schefter reports. Penn was released Thursday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
7:53 p.m.: Seattle Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond tweeted he enjoyed his visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars and is off to meet with Seattle’s rival team, the San Francisco 49ers.
7:31 p.m.: The Baltimore Ravens are coming closer and closer to landing Steve Smith.
Smith is scheduled to fly to Baltimore on Thursday for a Friday meeting with the Ravens, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
6:35 p.m.: The Oakland Raiders and linebacker LaMarr Woodley have agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $12 million.
Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher has agreed to a four-year deal with the Washington Redskins.
6:05 p.m.: Tight end Scott Chandler has re-signed with the Buffalo Bills for two years.
5:55 p.m.: The Carolina Panthers have lost another wide receiver, as Ted Ginn Jr. has signed a three-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals also re-signed linebacker Matt Shaugnessy.
Panthers fans are not reacting well to the Ginn deal.[tweet https://twitter.com/shelbyreasor/status/444230190462296064 align=”center”]
5:35 p.m.: Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly reportedly took a pay cut to give New England more salary cap room.
In other news, the Detroit Lions have agreed to a five-year, $31 million deal with wide receiver Golden Tate, according to reports.
5:17 p.m.: Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has agreed to a two-year deal with the Tennessee Titans worth up to $8 million, per the Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt.
Meanwhile, former Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the San Diego Chargers.
The Houston Texans re-signed their first unrestricted free agent of the offseason, tight end Garrett Graham.
5 p.m.: The Patriots will have some more competition if they’re still interested in signing cornerback Brandon Browner.
John Clayton (via Mike Triplett) is reporting Browner also is being courted by the Saints. Browner visited the Patriots on Thursday and also is reported to be visiting the Redskins at some point this week.
4:53 p.m.: The Patriots aren’t the only AFC East team with cornerbacks on their wish list this offseason. Miami reportedly is hosting Cortland Finnegan on Friday, per Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post.
4:17 p.m.: Justin Tuck is officially a Raider, according to this photo.
4:15 p.m.: It’s a quarter past four, and Steve Smith has not been signed by the Baltimore Ravens. There have to be some nervous NFL insiders out there after a day full of predicting that move.
3:37 p.m.: It wasn’t logical for the Patriots and Vince Wilfork to continue on because of Wilfork’s huge cap number, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Take a look at where New England goes from here.
3:35 p.m.: With Aqib Talib and Darrelle Revis signed, it’s down to the second tier on the cornerback free-agency market, but there’s still talent out there.
3:03 p.m.: Justin Tuck is on the move.
The defensive end is accepting a two-year, $11 million offer from the Oakland Raiders after seeing if the New York Giants would up their offer, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
2:49 p.m.: Here is some background on the Wilfork situation.
Wilfork’s contract was a tough one for the Patriots heading into next season, but Wilfork also has been a huge part of New England’s defense — and a leader of the franchise, on and off the field — for a long time. Wilfork did a lot of work to get this contract, and matters of respect aren’t taken lightly by NFL players, especially those who feel they still have something left in the tank.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots have a history of cutting players for cap space, no matter those players’ history with the team. There might be time to mend fences, but it appears Wilfork is destined to join that list.
2:38 p.m.: The speculation about why Vince Wilfork asked the Patriots to be released is centering mostly around his contract, with some guessing that Darrelle Revis getting a nice payday might have been the last straw after Wilfork and the Patriots didn’t talk for a while.
In other Revis news, Pro Football Talk has a nice nugget on how the Denver Broncos were pursuing Revis, too, in their quest for the right cornerback fit.
2:30 p.m.: The big question for the Patriots concerning Vince Wilfork this offseason was if the team would cut him to free up cap space. But now NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports the defensive star has surprisingly made the first move and asked the team himself to be released.
New England is wrestling with cap restraints in free agency, with needs along the defensive line and at wide receiver making it difficult for the team to maneuver. After the Patriots were able to sign Darrelle Revis with just a $7 million hit against the cap for this season, though, it appeared the team would not need to cut players or restructure contracts to the extent originally thought.
Rapoport also reports the Patriots approached Wilfork once about restructuring his deal, a “non-starter” for the veteran. They haven’t talked since, Rapoport says.
2:06 p.m.: Steve Smith has some thoughts on the Carolina Panthers cutting him loose after 13 seasons:[tweet https://twitter.com/billvoth/status/444170917934297088 align=’center’]
Football fans just hope he ends up on a team that plays the Denver Broncos a lot.
2:02 p.m.: NFL Media’s Albert Breer also reports the Cincinnati Bengals are unlikely to match the Cleveland Browns’ offer sheet to wide receiver Andrew Hawkins.
If the Bengals let Hawkins go and he signs with the Browns, Cleveland likely would be out of the running for Julian Edelman. The Browns and Baltimore Ravens, who are said to be going hard after Steve Smith, were the two leaders to steal Edelman away from the Patriots.
Hawkins’ offer sheet is for $13.6 million over four years ($10.8 million over the first two seasons), according to reports.
1:56 p.m.: NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports the Seattle Seahawks and tight end Jermichael Finley have “mutual interest.”
1:55 p.m.: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who agreed to terms with Anthony Collins earlier today, have cut tackle Donald Penn, according to multiple reports.
The Cincinnati Bengals also announced they’ve cut James Harrison, which the linebacker foreshadowed in a tweet about an hour ago.
1:52 p.m.: Cornerback Tracy Porter has agreed to terms with the Washington Redskins, according to NBC Sports’ Dianna Marie Russini. Porter, who started his career with the New Orleans Saints in 2008, has played six years in the NFL, including stops with the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos.
1:28 p.m.: The Panthers would prefer to have some wide receivers next season.
After cutting longtime wideout Steve Smith earlier today, the Panthers are getting nervous as prime target Hakeem Nicks heads to a visit with the Indianapolis Colts. (The San Diego Chargers also are in the mix for Nicks.)
1:08 p.m.: The Chicago Bears announced they’ve reached a one-year deal with wide receiver Domenik Hixon, who’s also played for the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Carolina Panthers in his six-year career.
The Ravens, meanwhile, already have put in a call to Steve Smith, a source told ESPN’s David Newton. Smith can’t sign (or, supposedly, talk to) other teams until 4 p.m.
1 p.m.: The Patriots might just have gotten a boost in their effort to retain Julian Edelman.
The Cleveland Browns, one of the leading teams said to also be chasing Edelman, have offered wide receiver Andrew Hawkins $13.6 million over four years ($10.8 million over the first two seasons), according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Hawkins signed the offer sheet, but since he’s a restricted free agent, the Cincinnati Bengals, for whom Hawkins has played the last three seasons, will get a chance to match the offer. Those are hefty numbers, however, meaning Cleveland might have found its wide receiver.
12:57 p.m.: James Harrison sounds like he’s been cut by the Cincinnati Bengals.
He tweeted a goodbye to fans Thursday.
Harrison, who played 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers before signing with Cincinnati last year, was on a two-year contract that had a cap hit of about $2 million for this season, some of which the Bengals could save by releasing him.
The linebacker is a five-time Pro Bowler.
12:46 p.m.: There have been a few minor moves around the NFL.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News says the Jets are close to a deal with Brandon Pettigrew. The tight end also was drawing interest from the Oakland Raiders as well as the Detroit Lions, for whom he played the last five seasons.
The San Diego Chargers and linebacker Kavell Conner have reached an agreement on a three-year deal, according to Michael Gehlken of the Union-Times. Conner played the last four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.
And finally, in the most minor of minor moves, the Carolina Panthers — after cutting loose the longtime heart and soul of the team in wide receiver Steve Smith — have ensured backup quarterback Derek Anderson will return, according to Anderson himself.
12:39 p.m.: Hakeem Nicks’ potential suitors include the Indianapolis Colts, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson. He’s looking for a long-term deal after five seasons with the New York Giants. The Panthers also are said to be very interested.
12:23 p.m.: A few more details on the Darrelle Revis contract: By signing Revis to such a large bonus (rather than base salary) this year, the Patriots are splitting his cap hit between this season and next.
As NFL Media’s Albert Breer reports, Revis only counts $7 million toward the cap this year. The catch, however, is that the rest of the bonus money goes against next year’s cap. That means if the Patriots pick up Revis for next season (at $20 million), he’ll cost a bonkers-number $25 million against their cap.
Knowing the Patriots (or any NFL team with basic sense, or just how math works), that means Revis probably is an unrestricted free agent at this point next year. New England will pay a $5 million cap hit even if Revis is gone.
Pro Football Talk has some more numbers for those who want to see even more details of his contract.
12:11 p.m.: Hey! Hey! Who’s the favorite to get Steve Smith? Is it the Baltimore Ravens?
Yes, it’s still the Baltimore Ravens.
12:09 p.m.: Former Detroit Lions defensive end Willie Young has agreed to terms with the Chicago Bears, according to USA Today’s Tom Pelissero. The three-year agreement is for $9 million, with $3.95 million guaranteed.
Young spent the last four seasons with the Lions. He started 15 games last season, recording three sacks and recovering two fumbles.
12:07 p.m.: And here’s an update from the East Rutherford area.[tweet https://twitter.com/CR8Z4JETS/status/444138927616970753 align=’center’]
11:57 a.m.: Here are some details on the Patriots’ deal with Darrelle Revis.
USA Today’s Tom Pelissero says the contract, originally reported as a one-year, $12 million deal, includes a club option for 2015.
That 2015 option is for $20 million, including a $12 million roster bonus. If the Patriots exercise the option before the end of the 2014 league year (April 1, 2015), Revis would get that roster bonus. His 2015 base salary would be $7.5 million.
The club option means the Patriots couldn’t choose to franchise Revis in 2015, according to Pelissero. (They’d have to take the option or not take it.)
For this year, Revis got a $10 million signing bonus and has $500,000 available in per-game roster bonuses, according to Pelissero. The rest is $1.5 million in guaranteed base salary.
NFL Media’s Albert Breer has reported the same figures for the 2014 season.
So, the Patriots are on the hook for $12 million for this season, and if they choose to keep Revis, $32 million altogether for two years.
11:43 a.m.: The Giants are looking around for free-agent wide receivers, and Ted Ginn Jr. is now on their radar, according to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. The Giants were interested in Jacoby Jones, but he’s returning to the Baltimore Ravens (reportedly for less money).
Ginn also is getting attention from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns, and he could return to the Panthers.
11:27 a.m.: And this is how it ends for one of the best players in Carolina Panthers history.
The Panthers announced Thursday morning that they’ve released wide receiver Steve Smith.
Plenty of teams have been waiting for Smith to hit the open market, as he’s still a talented receiver despite his cap number with Carolina scaring away trade partners. The Baltimore Ravens are expected to lead the pack.
Smith played 13 seasons with the Panthers, racking up 12,197 receiving yards on 836 receptions. He also had 67 touchdown catches. His best statistical season, in 2005, included 103 catches for 1,563 yards with 12 touchdowns (all league-leading that season). He was named to the Pro Bowl five times.[tweet https://twitter.com/Panthers/status/444132152595472384 align=’center’]
11:23 a.m.: The Eric Decker signing is now official — and Instagrammed, for that matter.
11:20 a.m.: Eric Decker’s new contract with the New York Jets comes with some nice guaranteed money.
The wide receiver is getting $15 million guaranteed, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
11:10 a.m.: The Patriots appear to have some competition for free-agent guard Shelley Smith.
The offensive lineman, who has played for the St. Louis Rams and Houston Texans, is headed to Foxboro for a visit Thursday, according to reports. Ben Volin of The Boston Globe now says a source told him Smith also will check out the Miami Dolphins.
While the Patriots could shore up their line, no team is worse on the O-line than the Fins, who have some serious work to do after losing players via the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal.
10:55 a.m.: Would the Patriots want Steve Smith? Steve Smith seems to have wanted the Patriots.
Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer says New England was among the five teams Smith mentioned to the Panthers when Carolina was still trying to trade the veteran wide receiver. The others were the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith’s contract made trade possibilities too difficult, Person says.
The Patriots have been looking at wide receivers all across the board, from incumbent Julian Edelman to former Eagle Jason Avant and last year’s interest, Emmanuel Sanders.
10:50 a.m.: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have scooped up an offensive tackle, agreeing with Anthony Collins for five years and $30 million, a source told NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
10:43 a.m.: Rodger Saffold’s deal with the Oakland Raiders fell through after he failed his physical. The offensive lineman has instead returned to the St. Louis Rams on a smaller contract, according to reports.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter says Saffold and the Rams have agreed to a five-year, $31.7 million deal with $19.5 million guaranteed. Saffold can void the deal after three years.
That’s far less than the five-year, $42.5 million agreement Saffold had in place with the Raiders, which included $21 million guaranteed. Saffold had a lingering shoulder injury, but it’s not clear what the Raiders didn’t like in his physical.
10:37 a.m.: The Jaguars are getting things done this morning.
Jacksonville has agreed to terms with defensive end Chris Clemons, according to NFL Media’s Albert Breer, and also defensive tackle Ziggy Hood, according to Florida Times-Union’s Brian O’Halloran. Clemons was just cut by the Seattle Seahawks.
10:25 a.m.: Michael Vick is a top choice for a team, but he’s a top choice as their backup quarterback, and it’s the New York Jets.
Brian Costello of the New York Post writes that sources say Vick and the Jets have “mutual interest,” but the former starter wants to look at his other options first. Vick, of course, could give Geno Smith a run for his money for New York’s starting job, although the Jets have given Smith their support for now.
10:20 a.m.: NFL Media’s Albert Breer also reports that the Baltimore Ravens will be quick to move on Steve Smith when he’s released, which the Carolina Panthers are expected to do sometime today.
9:52 a.m.: New Englanders who made it through Thursday morning’s wintry mix now have this to enjoy: Darrelle Revis has officially agreed to terms with the Patriots, according to Revis’ business manager.
John Geiger tweeted Thursday morning that the deal is complete.
9:45 a.m.: Safety James Ihedigbo, who started a full season for the first time in his career with the Baltimore Ravens last year, will visit the Detroit Lions, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. New Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was the Ravens’ secondary coach for Ihedigbo’s two seasons in Baltimore.
Ihedigbo started 12 games for the New England Patriots in 2011.
9:29 a.m.: While Julius Peppers or Jared Allen would be a great veteran addition to the Patriots’ shaky pass rush situation, New England isn’t really pursuing either defensive end, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reports.
9:25 a.m.: Julian Edelman has turned out to be far more coveted than originally expected, and the Cleveland Browns continue to be in the hunt.
CSNNE.com’s Mike Giardo reports Cleveland is making a “strong push” to get Edelman.
Former Patriots backup Brian Hoyer, now a Browns quarterback, reportedly has been trying to recruit Edelman to Cleveland.
9:20 a.m.: Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is certainly going to find use for Darren Sproles, an all-purpose yards machine.
Sproles spent the last three seasons in New Orleans, totaling 1,067 rushing yards and 1,981 receiving yards, plus six touchdowns on the ground and 16 through the air. He spent the first five seasons of his career in San Diego.
9:10 a.m.: CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora also reports Darren Sproles is headed to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sproles said Wednesday he’d rather be released than traded so he could pick his own team, then offered this classic quote: “The good thing is none of the teams I’m told (the Saints are) talking to are terrible.”
We’ll see if the Eagles fit that definition for Sproles.
9:03 a.m.: With Steve Smith headed out, the Panthers are looking at other free-agent options at wide receiver.
Bill Voth of SportsXchange says free agents Hakeem Nicks and Ted Ginn are getting attention from Carolina.
9 a.m.: The New Orleans Saints appear to have found a trade partner for running back Darren Sproles.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Sproles is headed to the Philadelphia Eagles, citing a source.
Sproles made headlines earlier in free agency when he tweeted he learned he was being shopped on Twitter.
8:55 a.m.: The Patriots are just looking at all the cornerbacks.
After scooping up prized free agent Darrelle Revis, New England has a date with former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, a source told NFL Media’s Albert Breer.
Browner missed time last season after being suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. While he’s not a perfect fit for New England, the Patriots appear willing to take a look.
8:45 a.m.: Adam Schefter gets us started early. He reports that, as expected, Steve Smith will soon be turned loose by the Carolina Panthers. The news was first reported by Bill Voth of SportsXchange.
The Panthers were hoping to get some value back for Smith in a trade, but it appears he’ll hit the open market instead.
Schefter names the Baltimore Ravens as an expected suitor. The Ravens need some real help on offense after going through a down stretch last season when Joe Flacco sorely missed the services of Anquan Boldin, who left for the San Francisco 49ers after Baltimore won Super Bowl XLVII.
8:40 a.m. ET: After a wild first two days of free agency, what will today bring?
Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, Eric Decker and T.J. Ward are just a few of the big names who have found new homes (that’s a lot of Denver Broncos-related movement), but the biggest move of free agency so far has to belong to the New England Patriots, who got Darrelle Revis to swallow a pay cut for a one-year, $12 million deal to start anew in the Northeast.
Julian Edelman is still out there, as is possible replacement Emmanuel Sanders. Keep up with everything that’s happening with the Patriots and the rest of the NFL in today’s free agency live blog.