- Anwar S. Richardson at Shutdown Corner4 hrs ago
Carolina Panthers fans are still in disbelief about the recent release of receiver Steve Smith after 13 seasons in the same uniform.
Fans of children’s emotions are going to be in disbelief about one really incentive father.
Gavin is a young boy who loves Smith. It is safe to say Smith was his favorite player. So when a parent must break bad news to their child, one dad decided the best way was to break out the camera phone and hit record (h/t Robert Littal).
As you can imagine, Gavin took the news pretty hard. Gavin’s dad kept pushing his buttons, which did not help the situation. Sophia, his sister, seemingly enjoyed the news. She is a huge fan of quarterback Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly. Of course, she is also a fan of her Hello Kitty water bottle.
Hopefully, somebody has told Gavin that Smith plays for the Baltimore Ravens, and he can still support his favorite player, assuming dad did not counter by saying the receiver will not be as good with his new team. And let’s hope when it is time to talk to Gavin about Santa Claus, his dad has perfected the art of presentation.
- Anwar S. Richardson at Shutdown Corner7 hrs ago
The New England Patriots perfectly played their negotiations with receiver Julian Edelman this offseason.
New England offered Edelman a contract before free agency, but he wanted to test the market. The Patriots did not overreact. They watched Edelman hit free agency, and he visited San Francisco on Friday. When the smoke cleared, Edelman decided to remain in New England.
Edelman agreed to terms on a new contract on Saturday. Terms of Edelman’s deal are currently unknown.
Foxboro is home. Excited to be back. #grind
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has to be happier than Edelman to hear the news.
Edelman, a seventh-round pick by New England in 2009, emerged at Brady’s top weapon as Rob Gronkowski battled injuries last season. He had 105 receptions for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns last season.
- Anwar S. Richardson at Shutdown Corner8 hrs ago
Ben Tate played in Arian Foster’s shadow for the past three seasons.
The Cleveland Browns are ready to see if Tate has what it takes to be a starter.
Tate, a former backup in Houston, signed a two-year deal with Cleveland on Saturday. He is the best running back available in free agency despite only nine starts in his career.
Cleveland’s acquisition of Tate, 25, could fill the void that occurred after Trent Richardson was traded to Indianapolis for a first-round pick last season. Richardson was a first-round pick by Cleveland in 2012, but traded after two games last season. He never emerged into a star in Indianapolis, but the Colts allowed backup Donald Brown to sign with San Diego in free agency, solidifying Richardson’s status as the No. 1 running back.
Tate will finally have a chance to compete for a starting job this season.
During Tate’s three-year career, he has compiled 1,992 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He averages 4.7 yards per carry during his career.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
The Tennessee Titans knew they had to replace right-tackle fixture David Stewart, the tough guy whose mauling style set the tone for the team up front for several years.
But was Michael Oher the right fit?
This is a curious signing, for a reported four years, $20 million and $9.5 million guaranteed — not beacoup bucks for a front-line tackle, but we're not sure Oher qualifies.
[Be sure to check out Shutdown Corner's NFL free-agent rankings. Click here for the list of offensive players, and click here for the list of defensive and special teams players]
Oh, in name recognition, yes, he's near the forefront. Cue the jokes about Sandra Bullock running onto the field to get in Ken Whisenhunt's face.
- Anwar S. Richardson at Shutdown Corner12 hrs ago
Former New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks received a harsh reality check during free agency.
New York was uninterested in re-signing its former first-round pick (2009). Nicks signed with Roc Nation Sports with the hope Jay Z’s sports agency could help him land a long-term deal. The Carolina Panthers were interested in signing Nicks, but not enough to offer him an enticing contract.
In the end, Nicks was forced to sign a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts. His contract is worth $3.5 million, according to IndyStar.com reporter Stephen Holder.
The deal makes sense for both sides.
Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck receives a veteran receiver as another passing option. Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton emerged as a reliable option last season, while Da'Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill could develop as trustworthy options.
In the meantime, Hicks, 26, has the opportunity to reemerge as an elite receiver.
Packers finally dip into free agency, reportedly sign Julius Peppers to a three-year deal ($7.5 million guaranteed)Anwar S. Richardson at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson was seemingly on vacation during thefirst few days of NFL free agency.
It appears Thompson was just waiting for the right time to strike.
That moment occurred on Saturday when Green Bay signed former Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers to a three-year deal, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
Filed to ESPN: Agent Carl Carey adds Julius Peppers' 3-year deal to Green Bay is "for $30M max, $7.5M guaranteed & $8.5M in tot 1st yr sal."
The move occurs one day after Green Bay re-signed defensive tackle B.J. Raji (one-year, $4 million).
Peppers was released by Chicago after the signing of Oakland defensive end Lamarr Houston. Peppers, 34, had 45 tackles, seven sacks and two forced fumbles last season. It was his lowest sack total in three seasons.
- Anwar S. Richardson at Shutdown Corner14 hrs ago
The New England Patriots wanted to upgrade their secondary during free agency.
New England signed former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner to a three-year deal worth $17 million, according to the team's website. Browner signed with New England after considering offers from Washington, New Orleans and Oakland.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Jim Kelly, the Hall Of Fame and four-time Super Bowl quarterback who spent his entire NFL career with the Buffalo Bills, recently learned that his cancer has returned.
Kelly was diagnosed with oral cancer initially last summer and had surgery to remove the tumor and cancerous cells and then rebuild his jaw. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment were not deemed necessary at the time. But now the cancer as recurred.
Kelly will travel to New York City next week for treatment. Dr. Thom Loree, head and neck surgeon at The Center for Oncology Care at Eric County Medical Center, issued the following statement on Kelly's behalf.
"Jim Kelly came to ECMC this week for continued testing related to his oral surgery. Unfortunately, it has been determined that his cancer has returned. Our team of head and neck cancer specialists is determining a course of treatment that will allow Mr. Kelly to battle this cancer successfully. Mr. Kelly has asked that you to keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers."
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Free agency is generally a time when fans lament that longtime veterans can't remain with the same team their whole careers.
Then, presumably, those folks are quite happy that cornerback Charles Tillman is coming back to Chicago.
Tillman, whose first 11 seasons in Chicago produced 36 interceptions and an incredible 42 forced fumbles, tested the free-agent market but will return for a 12th season after agreeing to a one-year deal. Tillman, better known by his "Peanut" nickname, is a fan favorite in Chicago and rightfully so. He won the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award this year for his work off the field.
Can Tillman still help the Bears on the field? He missed eight games last year due to injury, a high amount for the normally durable corner (he had missed just six games the previous eight years). He just turned 33, which is generally pretty old for defensive backs. Tillman visited Tampa Bay during free agency, and his old coach Lovie Smith, and the two sides couldn't come to a deal so he came back to the Bears for just one year. That's a sign his value is fading late in his career.
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner1 day ago
Charm City, are you ready for Steve Smith? It might not sound like a perfect match in those terms, but the Baltimore Ravens and Smith sure think it is a great match.
The Ravens have signed the free-agent receiver Smith to a three-year contract worth $11.5 million, Shutdown Corner has learned, and a signing bonus of $3.5 million.
Smith was cut by the Carolina Panthers on Thursday and was contacted by five teams, but his first visit was to the Ravens — and they never let him get away.
GM Ozzie Newsome was hot on Smith's trail from the moment the Panthers cut the 13-year veteran. Smith spoke with Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak on Thursday night and then flew to Baltimore to meet with the team. On Friday, they agred to terms on a deal he is expected to sign soon.
Smith adds a veteran pass catcher to an offense that lacked consistent production with Joe Flacco last season. Flacco now has receiving options all over the field with deep threat Torrey Smith, seam weapon Dennis Pitta, short weapon Ray Rice (if he returns) and now Smith, who no longer has elite speed but can catch passes at short, intermediate and deep lengths.