By Barry Wilner AP Pro Football Writer
March 15, 2014
Darrelle Revis and Darren Sproles found landing spots in the Northeast. Now Steve Smith and James Harrison look for new NFL homes.
Revis’ stay in Tampa Bay was short, and he might not be in New England much longer. After less than a year as a Buccaneer, he was cut Wednesday and officially agreed to terms with the Patriots on Thursday — but only on a one-year deal, albeit worth about $12 million.
The 28-year-old shutdown cornerback whose contract impasses have led him from the Jets to the Bucs to the Patriots since last April, was the latest big name on the move. Versatile running back-kick returner Sproles will add some juice to Philadelphia’s already high-energy offense after he was acquired from New Orleans. And someone — Baltimore, maybe — will grab veteran Smith after the standout wide receiver was released by Carolina.
As for Harrison, the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year was cut by Cincinnati, where he spent only the 2013 season after being released by Pittsburgh.
Tampa Bay cut tackle Donald Penn and signed Anthony Collins to replace him; Oakland signed defensive end Justin Tuck; Green Bay re-signed linebacker Mike Neal and tight end Andrew Quarless; and the Jaguars formally signed defensive end Chris Clemons, defensive lineman Ziggy Hood and re-signed defensive end Jason Babin, who led the team with 7½ sacks in 2013.
Revis’ business manager, John Geiger, tweeted: “Now it’s Official.@Revis24 has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots!”
Tampa released the three-time All-Pro before he was due a $1.5 million bonus. Revis was cut after efforts to trade him and his $16 million salary failed.
New England had a need at the position because Aqib Talib left for Denver. The Patriots have not announced the Revis move.
The Eagles were eager to let the world know about the addition of the 30-year-old Sproles, who figures to be a threat as a receiver, runner, returner and in pass protection against blitzers — all the things he did so well in New Orleans.
Smith has been the face of Carolina’s franchise for a decade. But he turns 35 in May and would have cost the Panthers $7 million under this year’s salary cap. The Panthers still owe Smith $3 million.
“When I took this position I knew that difficult decisions would have to be made along the way,” general manager Dave Gettleman said. “To move on from a storied veteran player is probably the most difficult of all. A decision not to be taken lightly. However, after much thought I feel very strongly it’s the right one.”
Hours after being let go, Smith traveled to Baltimore to visit with the Ravens, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Ravens do not announce free agent visits.
Cincinnati no longer was the right place for Harrison, 35, who had a limited role with the Bengals after he helped the Steelers win a pair of Super Bowls.
—Cleveland signed tight end Jim Dray to a three-year, $5.62 million contract, with $2.25 million in the first season. And the Browns signed Cincinnati slot wide receiver Andrew Hawkins to a four-year offer sheet. The Bengals have five days to match the offer or they’ll lose the elusive and speedy Hawkins to one of their AFC North rivals.