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NFL Roundup: Packers sign 8-time Pro Bowl DE Peppers

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The Green Bay Packers signed eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers, Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations Ted Thompson announced Saturday.

Peppers, 34, agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal, according to ESPN.

Peppers' agent, Carl Carey, said his client will be paid a salary of $8.5 million per year, and $7.5 million is guaranteed.

The Chicago Bears made the 6-foot-7, 287-pound Peppers available when they released him on Tuesday.

Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac coached Peppers from 2002-08 when they were with the Carolina Panthers.

Peppers spent the last four years with the Bears. He had 7.5 sacks last season, the fewest since joining them. He started every game in those four years, had 37.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl in the first three years (eight times overall in his career: 2004-06 and 2008-12).

A three-time first-team All-Pro (2004, 2006 and 2010), Peppers was drafted in the first round (No. 2 overall) in 2002 by Carolina and played with the Panthers through 2009 before joining the Bears.

Over his 12-year career, Peppers played in 186 games (184 starts), ranks No. 2 in the NFL with 118.5, No. 5 in forced fumbles (39) and leads all defensive linemen with nine interceptions over that span.

---Wide receiver Julian Edelman tweeted he will return to the New England Patriots after testing free agency the second straight year.

"Foxboro is home. Excited to be back," he wrote.

Edelman was the Patriots' top receiver in 2013 with 105 receptions for 1,056 yards with six touchdowns.

Last year, Edelman re-signed with the Patriots for a one-year incentive packed deal that earned him more than $1 million.

Edelman averaged 10.7 yards on 35 punt returns last year.

The Patriots drafted Edelman in the seventh round in 2009. For his career, he has 174 catches for 1,770 yards with 10 touchdowns. He is also averaging 12.3 yards on 107 punt returns.

---The Cleveland Browns agreed to a contract with free-agent running back Ben Tate.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but ESPN reported it is a two-year deal worth up to $7 million.

The Browns announced the deal via Twitter with a photo of Tate wearing a Browns cap.

Tate, 25, spent the first three seasons of his NFL career with the Houston Texans. He rushed 771 yards with four touchdowns last year. His best season was in 2011 when he ran for a career-high 942 yards. He has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons.

Tate emerged as the Texans' starter after Adrian Foster's season was cut short due to a back injury.

Tate played eight games with four broken ribs but missed the final two games after aggravating a cracked rib.

---The Buffalo Bills signed linebacker Brandon Spikes and running back Anthony Dixon.

Spikes spent the past four seasons with the New England Patriots, with 286 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and 12 pass breakups. Last year, Spikes had 86 tackles and one interception in 16 games (11 starts).

According to Pro Football Focus, Spikes ranked sixth last season among inside linebackers behind NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs' Derrick Johnson, Detroit Lions' Stephen Tulloch and Arizona Cardinals' Karlos Dansby (now with the Cleveland Browns).

Spikes ranked No. 1 as a run-stopper but 38th in pass coverage.

Dixon, who spent the first four years of his NFL career with the 49ers, has 458 rushing yards with eight touchdowns in 64 regular-season games.

---The Carolina Panthers agreed to a contract with free agent safety Roman Harper, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The deal is for two years and $4.5 million, including a $1.5 million bonus, according to ESPN.

Harper, 31, played just five games for the New Orleans Saints last year as he was slowed by a knee injury. In 2012, he started 16 games but ranked 87th out of 88 safeties, according to Pro Football Focus.

In nine NFL seasons, Harper has 17 sacks, seven interceptions and has been selected to two Pro Bowls. A second round pick by New Orleans in 2006, he was released by the Saints last month.

---The Oakland Raiders have re-signed RB Darren McFadden, General Manager Reggie McKenzie announced.

McFadden spent his first six seasons with the Raiders after being selected in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft, McFadden enters 2014 as the franchise's seventh leading all-time rusher with 3,713 yards.

His career totals include 67 games played (51 starts), 883 carries with 23 touchdowns and 1,557 receiving yards on 175 receptions with five touchdowns.

The 6-foot-1, 218-pounder enjoyed his best season with the Silver and Black in 2010 when he started 13 games and rushed for 1,157 yards on 223 carries with seven touchdowns.

His 1,157 rushing yards were the fifth highest single-season total in franchise history and his six 100-yard rushing games that year were the most by a Raider since 1997. McFadden followed up 2010 by being tabbed as a Pro Bowl alternate in 2011, despite playing in just seven games due to injury.

---The Washington Redskins signed unrestricted free agent cornerback Tracy Porter.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Porter, 27, joins his fourth team in as many seasons. He also reportedly visited with the New York Giants in free agency.

The seventh-year veteran started all 16 games for the Oakland Raiders last season. He had career highs in tackles (88) and sacks (1.5), and finished tied for the team lead in interceptions (two), one of which he returned for a touchdown.

Porter is expected to replace Josh Wilson in the slot for the Redskins. Porter played for the Denver Broncos in 2012 after spending his first four NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

In 65 career regular season games with 59 starts, Porter has 336 tackles (257 solo), 64 pass breakups, 10 interceptions (three returned for touchdowns), four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

---The Minnesota Vikings re-signed guard Charlie Johnson to a two-year, $5 million contract, reported.

In three seasons with Minnesota, Johnson has started 47 of 48 regular-season games. Pro Football Focus graded him negatively as a run blocker and pass protector last season.

The Vikings have also expressed interest in former New York Jets offensive lineman Vlad Ducasse, according to

Johnson, an eight-year NFL veteran, can play guard or tackle and has showed durability.

---Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon was in a single-car accident Saturday morning, but was not injured.

The troubled Blackmon is on indefinite suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. However, police said alcohol was not a factor in the accident, according to ESPN.

The crash occurred just before 4 a.m. on Interstate 295, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Blackmon lost control of his SUV after a rear tire blew and the vehicle crashed into a line of trees.

Blackmon was arrested in Texas in 2010 on a misdemeanor DUI charge that was eventually reduced to underage alcohol possession after he was pulled over for speeding.

In 2012, after the Jaguars selected Blackmon No. 5 overall in the draft out of Oklahoma State, he was arrested during a traffic stop in Stillwater, Okla. A breath test indicated his blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit. He was placed in the league's substance-abuse program.

Blackmon was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season after his second violation of policy.

Blackmon's latest suspension occured last November because of his third violation. He can apply for reinstatement before to the start of the upcoming 2014 season.

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