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- Champ Bailey
- Devin Hester
- Indianapolis Colts
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By The Sports Xchange March 6, 2014 6:42 PM
Champ Bailey, a 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback who became one of the most accomplished players in Broncos history during his 10 years in Denver, was released by the club on Thursday.
Bailey was due a $1 million roster bonus on March 15. Releasing him saves the Broncos $9 million against the 2014 salary cap and put the veteran on the free agent market for the first time in his 15-year career. Bailey will turn 36 in June and appeared in just five regular-season games last season because of a Lisfranc foot injury. He returned for the playoffs and was beaten soundly in man coverage by Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin on two big plays. Bailey, a member of the 2000s NFL All-Decade Team, spent 10 seasons (2004-13) in Denver, where he became one of the most decorated players in team annals. His 12 career Pro Bowl selections trail only Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White (13) among defensive players in NFL history and tie for the sixth most overall. ---The Chicago Bears informed standout return specialist Devin Hester that the team would not re-sign him for the 2014 season. The team also signed defensive end Trevor Scott to a one-year contract. Hester, 31, is the NFL's career leader in punt return touchdowns (13) and total kick return touchdowns (18). Including his 108-yard missed field goal return touchdown, Hester's 19 overall return touchdowns are tied with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders for the most in regular-season history. When adding Hester's 92-yard kickoff return touchdown to open Super Bowl XLI, his 20 overall return touchdowns (including the postseason) are an NFL record. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Scott has appeared in 76 games with 18 starts over six seasons with Oakland (2008-11), New England (2012) and Tampa Bay (2013), registering 94 tackles -- including 16 1/2 sacks and 21 tackles for losses. ---Veteran inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson signed a four-year, $22 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts. Owner Jim Irsay first announced the signing Thursday morning on his personal Twitter account. The deal includes $11 million guaranteed. Jackson, a widely respected team captain in Cleveland, was released last Wednesday by the Browns, who were on the hook for a $4.1 million roster bonus due March 15. He visited the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans before signing with the Colts. Jackson reunites with fired head coach Rob Chudzinski, who joined Chuck Pagano's coaching staff last month. Jackson was seventh in the NFL in tackles (141) last season. ---The Indianapolis Colts also released starting center Samson Satele, saving $4 million in salary cap space, made an exclusive rights tender to outside linebacker Cam Johnson and extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents cornerback Josh Gordy and guard Joe Reitz. Satele was originally signed by the Colts as an unrestricted free agent on March 21, 2012. In 2013, he started all 13 games he appeared in while making two starts in the playoffs. Johnson was acquired by the Colts in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 2, 2013. Last season, he saw action in 12 games and totaled two tackles and six special teams stops. Gordy appeared in 12 games in 2013 and had nine tackles, three passes defensed, one interception and four special teams stops. Reitz saw action in 14 games, making three starts. ---Defensive lineman B.J. Raji could sign a one-year contract to remain with the Green Bay Packers, turning down the chance to make his first foray into free agency next week. Raji, the ninth overall pick in 2009, wants to improve his stock in 2014 and return to the negotiating table with the chance to be a free agent after next season. Raji, 28, turned down a long-term extension that was worth between $7 million and $8 million per season with up to $20 million guaranteed. ---Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said last month that the franchise will spin the wheel again in 2014, hoping this is the year it hits on a quarterback. All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson dropped a hint via Twitter about the free agent he'd welcome. "Mike Vick would intently make the Vikings a playoff team," he wrote. Vick, 33, started just six games with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, losing his job to Nick Foles while he recovered from a hamstring injury. A better candidate appears to be re-signing Matt Cassel, who started down the stretch for Minnesota but opted out of his contract to return to free agency after one year with the Vikings. ---The Buffalo Bills exercised their exclusive rights by tendering offers to wide receiver Chris Hogan, offensive lineman Antoine McClain and fullback Frank Summers, and re-signing defensive back Brandon Smith, the team announced Thursday. Hogan played in each of the team's 16 games in 2013 and made 10 catches for 83 yards and added 10 special teams tackles. McClain joined the Bills' 53-man roster on Oct. 7, 2013, after being released by the Oakland Raiders. Summers appeared in 15 games (nine starts) for Buffalo in 2013 and tallied the first touchdown of his NFL career while posting 12 carries for 46 yards. Smith joined Buffalo's practice squad on last Sept. 10 before being promoted to the team's 53-man roster on Oct. 8 and appeared in two games in 2013. ---The Jacksonville Jaguars signed tight end Clay Harbor and offensive tackles Cameron Bradfield and Sam Young to contracts, the team announced Thursday. The deals were completed five days before Harbor and Young would have become unrestricted free agents. Bradfield was a restricted free agent and has the most experience with the Jaguars of the three. He started 11 games at left tackle last year, filling in for injured rookie Luke Joeckel, and started 12 games at right tackle in 2012. Harbor was claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles in September and finished with 24 receptions for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Young was claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills in October and saw action in 11 games as a reserve. ---The Cleveland Browns retained Billy Cundiff on Thursday by agreeing to terms with the veteran kicker on a contract extension. According to ESPN, it was a one-year, $1.02 million deal. Cundiff, who will be entering his ninth NFL season, was to become an unrestricted free agent when he current contract expired on Tuesday. Last season for the Browns, Cundiff made 21 of 26 field goal attempts (80.8 percent) and 32 of 32 extra point tries in 16 regular-season games. On kickoffs, Cundiff set a franchise record with 42 touchbacks and a career-high 67.7 touchback percentage (42 of 62). ---Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles confirmed he will meet with the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, visits that will take place at the team facilities this month. Bortles is projected to be a top-10 draft pick and NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler has maintained since January that Bortles would be the top overall pick in the 2014 draft if Houston keeps the pick. Bortles will work out March 19 at the UCF pro day in Orlando and it is expected he will meet with several teams before and after that event. He was the only quarterback in NFLDraftScout.com's top three -- Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel -- to throw at the Scouting Combine. ---Wide receiver Sammy Watkins wowed rows of scouts and left legions of fans looking in via mobile streaming on ESPN pining for the potential top five draft pick. Watkins did not run the 40-yard dash, choosing to let his 4.43 at the NFL Scouting Combine last month stand, but he displayed big, soft and powerful hands, explosive speed into and out of breaks and the ability to get the ball at its highest point as a receiver for quarterback Tajh Boyd. At least 31 teams were accounted for at the workout, which featured Watkins, wide receiver Martavis Bryant, Roderick McDowell and Boyd. ---The Minnesota Vikings released defensive tackle Letroy Guion and wide receiver Greg Childs on Thursday. The 26-year-old Guion started 13 games in 2013 and had 21 tackles and one sack. The six-year veteran played in 68 games and started 31 during his six seasons with the Vikings. Childs injured his knees and never saw action with the Vikings, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent 2012 on injured reserve and 2013 season on the physically unable to perform list.