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NFL free agency roundup

The SportsXchange

Two former starting quarterbacks -- both of whom were acquired in major trades -- were released Thursday. However, one already found a new home.

The Kansas City Chiefs released quarterback Matt Cassel, whom they acquired from the New England Patriots four seasons ago.

However, Cassel he wasn't a free agent for long, as the Minnesota Vikings signed him. Terms were not announced.

Meanwhile, oft-injured Kevin Kolb ended his stay with the Arizona Cardinals, who released him before he was owed a $2 million roster bonus on Saturday.

Cassel had 19 turnovers in nine games last season, but he has 58 career starts. If he doesn't compete with 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder for the starting job, Cassel would be considered an upgrade as the No. 2 quarterback.

Kolb's scheduled March 17 payment would have been difficult for the Cardinals' new regime to swallow. Kolb was paid a $7 million roster bonus last March, but the failed trade in 2011 in which the Cardinals dealt a second-round pick and former first-round draft choice Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the Philadelphia Eagles leaves Arizona searching for a starting quarterback.

Kolb, who would not renegotiate his deal, was owed $9 million in base salary for 2013 as per terms of the seven-year, $63 million contract he signed in 2011.

--Running back Steven Jackson agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons on a three-year deal. He spent nine seasons with the St. Louis Rams, compiling eight straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He is the active leading rusher in the NFL (10,135 yards).

However, Jackson, drafted 24th overall in 2004, has played in the postseason just once -- with one win -- and he voided the final year of his contract with the Rams to enter free agency for the first time. That deal would've paid Jackson $7 million in 2013.

The Falcons had the best record in the NFC in the regular season in 2012 at 13-3. They lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, then released starting running back Michael Turner, who led the team with 800 rushing yards on 222 carries (3.6 yards per attempt).

Also, center Todd McClure announced his retirement. McClure broke the news on his personal Twitter account.

He started all 16 games in 2012 and 198 games in his career, setting the franchise record for consecutive starts with 144 from 2002-2010.

--The Vikings signed center Joe Berger and defensive back Jamarca Sanford as unrestricted free agents, the team announced.

Berger, 30, spent his first two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, playing in all but one of the team's game during that period. Sanford returns to the Vikings for a fifth season. The 27-year-old has appeared in 57 games.

--Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ogletree was a known commodity to the coaching staff, namely wide receivers coach John Garrett.

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009, Ogletree has played in 46 games with two starts. He has 57 receptions for 730 yards and four touchdowns.

--The Philadelphia Eagles signed outside linebacker Connor Barwin to a six-year, $36 million contract worth up to $40.55 million. He's the latest addition to the Eagles' transition to a 3-4 defense.

Barwin has 19 career sacks but was coming off of a down year in 2012 with the Houston Texans. It was his first season playing without All-Pro pass rusher Mario Williams attracting attention from blockers.

--The Chiefs agreed on a three-year contract with cornerback Sean Smith worth up to $18 million, including $11 million in guarantees.

Smith, 25, had 12 passes defensed, two interceptions and three forced fumbles with the Dolphins last season.

--Detroit Lions offensive tackle Jeff Backus, the all-time franchise leader with 187 consecutive starts, announced his retirement after 12 seasons.

Backus, 35, has played left tackle since being selected in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of the University of Michigan.

--Free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will visit the San Francisco 49ers, according to a Sacramento Bee report.

Asomugha, 31, was released last week by the Eagles after having struggled for the past two seasons. He is guaranteed $4 million from the Eagles regardless of his next team or contract. The 11-year veteran was regarded as one of the league's top cornerbacks while playing for the Oakland Raiders.

--Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, traveled to Houston to visit with the Texans along with general manager Rick Smith, who was on board franchise owner Bob McNair's private jet.

Reed turns 35 before the start of the 2013 season, but he said in February before the Super Bowl that he has much more football left in his body.

--The Ravens announced the release of safety Bernard Pollard while re-signing cornerback Chris Johnson and safety James Ihedigbo.

With Pollard gone and Reed meeting with Texas officials, Ihedigbo is the team's only experienced safety. He appeared in all 16 games last season, starting three, for the Ravens.

The 29-year-old had 19 tackles and one sack along. Ihedigbo has also played for the New York Jets (2008-10) and New England Patriots (2011).

--The Indianapolis Colts re-signed cornerback Darius Butler to a two-year deal and agreed to a four-year, $22 million deal with defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois.

Jean-Francois is a versatile defensive lineman who suits a defense planning to blend elements of the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. The 26-year-old visited the Eagles and drew interest from the New Orleans Saints.

--Defensive tackle Nate Collins will return to the Chicago Bears in 2013, agreeing to one-year contract. Collins played in 22 games over the first three seasons of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2010-11) and Bears (2012).

--The Cleveland Browns announced a two-year contract agreement with running back Chris Ogbonnaya.

Ogbonnaya was valuable to the Browns last season because he can play fullback and running back in power formations to spell starter Trent Richardson.

He appeared in 15 games last season with one start. He recorded 24 receptions for 187 yards and rushed eight times for 30 yards.

--The Buccaneers are hedging on dealing the 13th overall to land New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.

Also, sources told Yahoo! that new Jets general manager John Idzik is willing to hold onto Revis despite the fact that the veteran would earn a $1 million roster bonus if he's still with the team Saturday.

--Free agent offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood signed with the Washington Redskins, the team announced. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Drafted out of Boston College by the Buccaneers in the second round, the 29-year-old has started 84 of the 101 regular-season games in which he has appeared. He played in nine games with one start for the Buccaneers last season.

--Offensive tackle Jake Long, the first player selected in the 2008, is apparently getting closer to a deal with St. Louis.

After being examined by the Rams medical staff, Long reportedly satisfied the team that he's healthy enough to sign.'s Ian Rapoport reported that the Rams were "OK with him medically" and that the two sides were "hammering out a deal."

--Defensive back Keenan Lewis is close to a deal with the Saints, according to an ESPN report.

Lewis visited New Orleans on Wednesday. The 26-year-old spent his first four NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he started all 16 games last year.

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