NFL News: Player News and Updates for 3/12/14
NFL Updates: Talib, Ware, Off-Season Schedule and More
March 12, 2014
Now that the 2014 NFL year has officially begun, we’ve already seen a flurry of activity and news items coming in from around the league. Let’s catch up on all the latest happenings and potential upcoming deals as we take our daily look at some of the newsmakers from around the NFL. Here’s the latest.
Michael Johnson, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: We’ll start things out with one of the big fish from yesterday’s free agent bonanza. The Bucs reportedly landed Johnson, who was the best DE left on the open market, for a cool $8.5 million per year. (Five seasons at $43 million is the number that’s being reported.)
In the past two seasons, Johnson logged 15 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles with the Bengals. This is a big win for Tampa Bay, as pressuring the quarterback has taken on a renewed importance around the league lately. With defensive guru Lovie Smith at the helm now, things are looking up on that side of the ball.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
DeMarcus Ware, DE, Free Agent: In a somewhat surprising development amid yesterday’s free agent frenzy, the Cowboys cut veteran defensive end DeMarcus Ware. The two sides had been discussing his contract recently, with the team wanting Ware to take a pay cut to remain in Dallas. (And he reportedly wasn’t interested in restructuring.)
Now that the move is done, the Cowboys save $8 million in cap space and improve their financial standing heading into this 2014 season. Ware should catch on somewhere else pretty easily (Denver is an early favorite), but he’s had surgeries in the past two off-seasons and logged a career-low six sacks last year.
Aqib Talib, CB, Denver Broncos: The Broncos pulled off the surprise pickup of yesterday’s action when they signed Talib to a six-year deal. The new contract is worth $57 million, with $26 million of that being guaranteed.
Talib was one of the hottest DB names on the market, though Denver was never really on the radar when it came to acquiring his services. He finished up last season with 41 tackles and four picks in 13 games and made the Pro Bowl, so he’s an instant upgrade to the Broncos’ needy defense.
Notable Re-Signings Yesterday: A few players stayed put yesterday, cutting it close before hitting the open market in free agency. The Giants secured Peyton Hillis’ services, inking him to a two-year, $1.8 million deal. He’s not expected to have much of an impact, but will put New York’s mind at ease as an insurance signing. Given their luck with the RB position last year, they need all the insurance they can get.
Adam Vinatieri will be staying in Indianapolis; He inked a two-year deal with the Colts. Combined with the Pat McAffe re-signing last week, the Colts’ special teams legs will be familiar for a while to come.
Santana Moss also agreed to return to the Redskins on a one-year deal.
NFL Key Dates: We’re now back to full-on anticipation mode for the 2014 campaign. Here’s a look at some of the noteworthy dates from this off-season period that should keep us occupied until the league kicks off again.
Important 2014 Dates:
February 3: Waiver System Starts (Teams can make transactions, cuts, etc.)
February 17-March 3: Franchise Tag Designation Period
February 19-25: NFL Combine (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)
March 8: Contract Negotiations for Unrestricted Free Agents Can Begin
March 11: League Year Officially Begins (4:00 PM ET)
March 23-28: Annual Owners Meeting (Orlando, FL)
May 8-10: NFL Draft
July 24: Training Camp Opens
September 4: First Game of the 2014 Season
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