NFL free agent moves: Bush, Welker, Goldson

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

There was more big-name action when NFL free agency moved into its second day Wednesday, as running back Reggie Bush signed with the Detroit Lions, wide receiver Wes Welker moved to the Denver Broncos and safety Dashon Goldson joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Several more stars were in serious negotiations -- running back Steven Jackson (formerly of the St. Louis Rams) with the Green Bay Packers, defensive back Charles Woodson (Green Bay) with the San Francisco 49ers, offensive tackle Jake Long (Miami Dolphins) with St. Louis, linebacker James Harrison (Pittsburgh Steelers) with the Baltimore Ravens, and safety Ed Reed (Ravens) with the Houston Texans.
New England moved quickly to replace Welker, coming to terms with former St. Louis receiver Danny Amendola.
Bush, the former Heisman Trophy winner who played for the New Orleans Saints and Miami, agreed to a four-year deal with Detroit. The Lions were the big winner of the day, also signing former Texans free safety Glover Quin.
Bush proved he could be an every-down back in Miami, rushing for 2,072 yards and 12 touchdowns in two years with the Dolphins.
The Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals were also interested in Bush, but the Lions offered him a starting job as opposed to being a situational back.
Welker reached an agreement on a two-year, $12 million deal with the Broncos, according to multiple media reports.
The 31-year-old Welker, one of the top unrestricted free agents available, had 118 receptions for 1,354 yards and six touchdowns in 2012 with the New England Patriots. It was his fifth 100-catch season -- an NFL record.
Welker played last season for $9.5 million, the terms applied under the franchise designation, and he and the Patriots reportedly remained far apart in negotiations toward a long-term deal.
His potential replacement, Amendola, agreed to a five-year, $31 million deal, with $10 million guaranteed, NFL Network and ESPN reported. Amendola, 27, had 63 catches for 666 yards and three touchdowns last year in his fourth season with the Rams.
Goldson, who helped the 49ers reach the Super Bowl, signed a five-year deal with the Buccaneers. The deal, worth an estimated $40 to $42 million, will average about $8 million per season
In the past three season, Quin started every game for the Texans, who drafted him in 2009. The 27-year-old finished with 84 tackles, 14 passes defensed and two interceptions in 2012.
Quin, who entered the NFL as a cornerback, is expected to take the starting spot of free safety Louis Delmas, whom the Lions are expected to lose in free agency.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings released cornerback Antoine Winfield, and the Ravens cut Bernard Pollard on Wednesday to further bulk up a talented list of defensive backs that already included Woodson and Reed.
Cornerback Chris Houston, meanwhile, agreed to re-sign with the Lions, who also added defensive lineman Jason Jones (Seattle Seahawks), while cornerback Dunta Robinson left the Atlanta Falcons for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Seahawks replaced Jones on the defensive front by agreeing to terms with Cliff Avril. The 26-year-old defensive end finished with 35 tackles, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last year, his fifth season with the Lions.
There was added drama to the Goldson deal, as the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Buccaneers sent a private plane to pick up Goldson on Tuesday in California and bring him to Florida to conclude negotiations.
Meantime, Woodson, who began his career with the Oakland Raiders, was expected back in the Bay Area on Wednesday on a visit to the 49ers, who may want his experience in replacing Goldson.
The 49ers might also have a good reason to invite the newly free Winfield, whose ability to cover slot-type receivers would come in handy for San Francisco when it plays NFC West rival Seattle.
Winfield's Minnesota teammate, Percy Harvin, was acquired by the Seahawks in a trade, and Winfield might be one of the few defenders with ability to match up with Harvin.
The Rams also are interested in adding to their secondary, and are looking at safety Delmas along with offensive tackle Long.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall agreed to a one-year deal with the Cardinals. A former first-round draft pick of the Steelers, Mendenhall had his most productive NFL seasons under the watch of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and he rejoins his former coach in Arizona.
The Dolphins, who scored big on free agent opening day by signing wide receiver Mike Wallace and linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler, are still in acquisition mode.
The Dolphins are interested in adding yet another veteran receiver to help young quarterback Ryan Tannehill. They are reportedly talking to tight end Dustin Keller (New York Jets) and wide receiver Brandon Gibson (St. Louis). According to multiple media outlets, Keller was taking a physical in Miami on Wednesday.
The Jets are also interested in Gibson, making for a potential bidding skirmish between the division rivals.
Although not a star, Gibson provided the Rams a certain degree of pass-catching consistency and some big plays. He played in all 16 games last season, started 13 and caught 51 passes for 691 yards and five touchdowns.
The Chiefs were also in the market for another experienced receiver for newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith. They ended up signing Donnie Avery, who grabbed 60 passes for 781 yards with the Indianapolis Colts last season but also had more than his share of drops, most memorable among them the one that killed a late rally in a playoff loss to the Ravens.
Tight ends were also on the move. The Chicago Bears signed Martellus Bennett on the first day of free agency, resulting in the release of Kellen Davis on Wednesday. The Steelers re-signed tight end/fullback David Johnson to a one-year contract. The Browns, meanwhile, were interested in bringing in the Washington Redskins' Fred Davis, according to, and the Carolina Panthers' Gary Barnidge, according to Pro Football Talk.
The Browns also continued to bulk up their defense, signing outside linebacker Quentin Groves (Arizona) to a two-year deal worth $2.8 million. He was the third front-seven player signed by Cleveland in free agency, joining outside linebacker Paul Kruger and defensive lineman Desmond Bryant.
The Steelers released guard Willie Colon but added some stability to the quarterback position by signing Bruce Gradkowski to back up Ben Roethlisberger.
Fullback Quinn Johnson, lead blocker for star running back Chris Johnson, re-signed with the Tennessee Titans. Last year, Quinn Johnson recorded four carries for 5 yards and five receptions for 40 yards, in addition to contributing on special teams.
The Titans signed free agent Shonn Greene, a starting running back with the Jets the last two years. The contract reportedly is worth $10 million over three years. Greene took over as the starter with the Jets after backing up LaDanian Tomlinson in 2010.
Last season, Greene started 14 of 16 games and rushed for 1,063 yards and eight touchdowns. In Tennessee, he is expected to back up Chris Johnson, in addition to being a third-down and short-yardage back.
The San Diego Chargers announced that wide receiver/return specialist Richard Goodman, an exclusive-rights free agent, signed his one-year contract tender. Goodman is entering his fourth season with the Chargers.
San Diego also bolstered its offensive line by signing three free agents, tight end John Phillips (formerly of the Dallas Cowboys), tackle King Dunlap (Philadelphia Eagles) and guard Chad Rinehart (Buffalo Bills).
In addition to acquiring Welker, the Broncos agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and with linebacker Stewart Bradley, who was released by the Cardinals on March 1.

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