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Vince Wilfork Becomes Free Agent, Pats Deny Option

Vince Wilfork Becomes Free Agent, Pats Deny Option

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass. ) -- Veteran defensive end Vince Wilfork announced on Thursday that he will be a free agent when the new league year starts on Tuesday.

The Patriots decided not to pick up the option on Wilfork and was due a $4 million roster bonus on March 10.

"I'm in a good place," Wilfork wrote in his statement. "I have a great relationship with the Patriots organization. Please know how blessed my family and I have been to be able to play 11 years in New England for an amazing organization. "

"New England has been and always will be my home," Wilfork continued. "I will take my time, think things through, take into consideration many things, but mainly my family and see where life goes from there. ...But regardless, remember, I will always remain a New Englander, a Patriot forever."

Wilfork won two Super Bowl titles during his 11 years with New England.

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Darnell Dockett Signs with 49ers

Darnell Dockett Signs with 49ers

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Free agent defensive end Darnell Dockett wasn't out of work long.

The San Francisco 49ers signed Dockett to a two-year, $7.5 million contract, with $4 million being paid in the first season and $2 million guaranteed, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The deal cannot become official under the new league year on Tuesday.

Dockett's signing comes after the Cardinals cut him after spending 11 seasons with them to create more cap space.

The three-time Pro Bowler missed all of last season after he tore his ACL during training camp last August.

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Report: QB Peyton Manning Nearing a Pay Cut with Broncos

Report: QB Peyton Manning Nearing a Pay Cut with Broncos

Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are closing in on an agreement which will see the 14-time Pro Bowler take a $4 million pay cut for the 2015 season, according to ESPN.  The deal will allow the Broncos more flexibility when the free agency market opens on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old Manning will earn a base salary of $15 million in 2015, which is down from the $19 million he was set to earn.

In 16 games last season under center for Denver, he passed for 4,792 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He holds the NFL record for most career passing touchdowns, with 530.

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Eagles Cut CB Cary Williams

Eagles Cut CB Cary WilliamsScott Boehmn/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- Philadelphia Eagles cut cornerback Cary Williams on Tuesday.The 30-year-old spent the past two seasons with the Eagles, playing in all 33 regular season and playoff games for the team.Williams had one year lef...

49ers Sign Rugby Star Jarryd Hayne

49ers Sign Rugby Star Jarryd Hayne

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thinking outside the box, the San Francisco 49ers have signed Australian National Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne to a futures/reserves contract.

Other than rugby, Hayne has no football experience.

Hayne, who was the NRL's Player of the Year in 2014, turned down deals with the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions to sign with the 49ers.

The 49ers guaranteed Hayne $100,000 whether he ever makes the field or not.

He has been training since October in the United States with former NFL receiver Tim Dwight.

"He's going to have to come in and play special teams. He's going to have to learn how to rush the punt and then get back and block for a return," Dwight told ESPN.com last week. "He's going to have to learn how to cover a punt, but that should be pretty instinctive to him. We were trying to look at what positions he would play on the field, either offensively or defensively. Rugby, especially being a forward, you're pretty much an offensive-minded guy."

At his Pro Day, Hayne measured in at 6-foot-2, 226 pounds.

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Titans Release Safety Bernard Pollard

Titans Release Safety Bernard Pollard

NFL via Getty Images(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Coming off an injury-riddled 2015 season, the Tennessee Titans have released veteran safety Bernard Pollard.

"Nashville it's been so much fun. Thank you to all the fans and people I've been blessed meet. Great city, fans and food! #31 is out" Pollard tweeted.

Pollard told The Tennessean that he asked the team to release him, and his request was granted.

"I am a little ticked off to be honest because we didn't do as well as anyone wanted," Pollard told the newspaper. "I wish we could have won more games and made the playoffs. When I came here, I wanted to be a part of a turnaround, so it is a letdown. But I don't have that much time left, and for the time I do have left, I want to go out with a bang."

The 30-year-old Pollard suffered an Achilles injury during the fifth game of the season in 2014, and missed the remainder of the season. He spent two seasons in all in Nashville.

A nine-year veteran, Pollard has played for the Chiefs, Texans, Ravens, and Titans during his career.

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Report: Texans Grant WR Johnson Permission to Seek Trade

Report: Texans Grant WR Johnson Permission to Seek Trade

Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images(HOUSTON, Tx) -- The face of the Houston Texans offense wants out.

Wide receiver Andre Johnson has been granted permission to seek a trade, according to ESPN.  The news was first reported by the Houston Chronicle and KRIV.

Johnson, 33, has also demanded that if a trade partner cannot be found that he be released from the team he has spent all 12 seasons of his career with.

Last year, Johnson threatened to hold out in hopes of being traded or released but played through the 2014 season. With a revolving door at quarterback, that included Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett and Case Keenum, Johnson posted 85 catches for 936 yards and three touchdowns. 

Johnson's impact on the team began to diminish as second year wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins became the prime target on offense.

The Texans selected Johnson third overall in the 2003 NFL draft out of the University of Miami.

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Report: Broncos Will Franchise Tag Demaryius Thomas

Report: Broncos Will Franchise Tag Demaryius Thomas

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images(DENVER, Co.) -- The Denver Broncos will not allow their leading receiver of the past three seasons to see the light of free agency.

The Broncos are expected to use the franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas, according to the Denver Post. Furthermore, the team will use the "nonexclusive" tag, which means Thomas is free to negotiate with other teams, but the Broncos can match any offer or the signing team must compensate Denver with two first-round picks.

Under the franchise tag, Thomas is expected to be paid $12.797 million. Thomas had been receiving an average of $2.8 million per year under his rookie contract.

Thomas, 27, has caught at least 92 passes each of the last three seasons while totaling at least 1,400 yards through the air. He has also posted double-digit touchdowns in all three years. Last season, he set the Bronco's single-season record with 1,619 yards receiving.

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Report: Raiders Will Cut LB Woodley

Report: Raiders Will Cut LB Woodley

Al Bello/Getty Images(OAKLAND) -- The Oakland Raiders made a gamble last year that LaMarr Woodley would bring a strong veteran presence to the middle of their defense.

It went bust. The Raiders are expected to cut Woodley this week, according to CSN Bay Area.

Woodley, 30, signed a two-year $12 million dollar contract with the Raiders after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

However, Woodley missed 10 games last season due to a biceps injury. Even when he did play, he failed to make an impact as he recorded five tackles for the 3-13 Raiders.

Oakland will likely have the second most cap space heading into free agency with over $60 million available. In addition, to comply with the CBA rules for minimum cash spending, the Raiders must spend at least $20 million dollars this season towards their salary cap.

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Cowboys to Franchise Dez Bryant

Cowboys to Franchise Dez Bryant

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(IRVING, Texas) -- The Dallas Cowboys have informed the agent of Dez Bryant that the team will place the franchise tag on the All-Pro wide receiver, Vice President Stephen Jones confirmed.

The Cowboys have to notify the league by 4 p.m. ET Monday, which will guarantee Bryant roughly $13 million in 2015. The Cowboys will not use the exclusive franchise tag on Bryant, but if a team wants to take Bryant away from the Cowboys, they would have to give up two first-round picks if Dallas decides to not match an offer sheet.

In five seasons with Dallas, Bryant has caught 381 passes for 5,424 yards and 56 touchdowns. No player in team history has more catches, yards or touchdowns than Bryant in the first five years of his career.

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49ers Release WR Stevie Johnson

49ers Release WR Stevie Johnson

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO, Ca.) -- The 49ers will be releasing wide receiver Stevie Johnson, according to NBC reporter Dianna Russini. 

Johnson, 28, was traded to San Francisco from Buffalo during last year's draft for a conditional fourth-round draft pick.

The Bills drafted Johnson in the 7th round of the 2008 draft out of Kentucky. His best season came in 2010, when he caught 82 passes for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns.  He was never able to recapture that level of production and fell out of favor with the organization. They felt he was expendable after trading up to select Sammy Watkins with the 4th overall pick last year.

Last season he played in 13 games, catching 35 passes for 435 yards and three touchdowns.

The 49ers entered the offseason with just over $6 million dollars in cap space.  Releasing Johnson carries no dead money and will free up another $6 million.

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Josh McCown Signs Three-Year Deal with Browns

Josh McCown Signs Three-Year Deal with Browns

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Cleveland Browns signed veteran quarterback Josh McCown to a three-year deal on Friday.

McCown spent last season with the Buccaneers and finished 1-10 before being released.

During his 11 games as the starter, McCown had completed 56.3% of his passes for 2,206 yards and 11 touchdowns while committing 18 turnovers.

His signing points towards the end of the Brian Hoyer era in Cleveland.  Hoyer is scheduled to be a free agent.

McCown has played for the Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Panthers, Bears and Bucs in a 12-year career.

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is the only quarterback still on the roster and is currently in rehab.

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NFL Considering Changes to Combine Drills

NFL Considering Changes to Combine Drills

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Each year college players hoping to make it in the NFL must participate in what is often dubbed the "Underwear Olympics."

What was once intended as a convenient location to gather medical information has become a media spectacle: watching athletes bench press 225 lbs. and run a 40-yard dash.

Now some in the League Office would like to make adjustments.

"We run the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. Why? The only reason anyone can ever give you is, that's how it's always been done," said Matt Birk, the league's director of player development.

In order to more accurately gauge players to their projected position, the hope is to tweak the tradition 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and short shuttles.

"That's a project we'll be working on this offseason,"Birk said. "Once we look at the data that was gathered in-game this year, it may be important to know how fast a wide receiver or defensive back can go 60 yards. Maybe for an offensive lineman it's only 20 yards.

"We can actually see that in-game: how far are these guys running? What are the real or improved measures of importance and value as it relates to evaluating players and whether or not they should be drafted in the first round or the sixth round?"

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton also supports the potential changes.

"I think you'll gradually see position-specific change where it won't be just one whole new set of drills," he said. "It will gradually phase itself in as we know more and more what we're looking for for an offensive lineman, compared to a running back."

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NFL Appeals Adrian Peterson Ruling

NFL Appeals Adrian Peterson Ruling

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Football League is not pleased with Minnesota Judge David Doty's ruling to reinstate Viking's running back Adrian Peterson.

Hours after Thursday's ruling, the NFL appealed Judge Doty's decision to overturn the suspension of Peterson in federal court. Additionally, the NFL placed Peterson back on the Commissioner's Exempt List. 

The NFL released a statement:

"Judge Doty’s order did not contain any determinations concerning the fairness of the appeals process under the CBA, including the commissioner’s longstanding authority to appoint a designee to act as hearing officer. Even so, we believe strongly that Judge Doty’s order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established legal precedent governing the district court’s role in reviewing arbitration decisions. As a result, we have filed a notice of appeal to have the ruling reviewed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the interim, Adrian Peterson will be returned to the Commissioner Exempt List pending further proceedings by appeals officer Harold Henderson or a determination by the Eighth Circuit Court."

Peterson is set to count for $15.4 million against the Vikings salary cap this season. The team has made public statements saying they would welcome him back, however the running back may not wish to return and privately the team may not want him back either.

Last week, Peterson's agent Ben Dogra had to be separated from Vikings President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski after the two engaged in an altercation regarding the running back's future in Minnesota.

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Report: Broncos and Manning Restructuring Contract

Report: Broncos and Manning Restructuring ContractJustin Edmonds/Getty Images(DENVER) -- According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, the Broncos and Peyton Manning are working on restructuring his contract. Manning is scheduled to make $19 million this upcoming season, however the contact reconstructio...

Lions Cut RB Bush, Packers Cut LB Hawk

Lions Cut RB Bush, Packers Cut LB Hawk

Leon Halip/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The top two teams in the NFC North have released two of their most prominent players.

The Detroit Lions will part ways with running back Reggie Bush and the Green Bay Packers have released inside linebacker A.J. Hawk.

Hawk was the fifth overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft by the Packers. He spent the last nine seasons with the team and is the franchise’s all-time leading tackler with 1,118.

"A.J. is a consummate Packer and we are grateful for all that he has given and how he represented the organization over the past nine seasons," Packers general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement.

The move frees up $3.5 million in cap space for Green Bay.

Bush, who signed a four-year deal with the Lions in 2013, could not stay healthy. He played in 25 games in two seasons with Detroit, missing five this past season as he dealt with a nagging ankle injury. The move frees up $1.7 million in cap space.

The Packers (12-4) won the NFC North last season when they defeated the Lions (11-5) 30-20 in Week 17.

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Stadium Proposal Approved By Inglewood, California

Stadium Proposal Approved By Inglewood, California

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(INGLEWOOD, Ca.) -- The National Football League's inevitable return to the Los Angeles market has taken another step forward.

Late Tuesday night, the Inglewood City Council approved a $2 billion stadium proposal set forth by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

Last week, the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders put forth a proposal for a joint stadium in Carson, California. Kroenke and the Inglewood council felt a new sense of urgency after the two teams were seeking to relocate.

The Rams left the Los Angeles market after the 1994 season. The team was founded in Cleveland in 1937 but relocated to Los Angeles in 1946.

It is believed the Rams could move to Los Angeles as soon as the 2016 season, where they would play in the Los Angeles Coliseum until the new stadium would be completed around 2018.

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Giants Release Longtime DE/LB Mathius Kiwanuka

Giants Release Longtime DE/LB Mathius Kiwanuka

Banana Stock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After nine years with the team, the New York Giants have released defensive end/linebacker Mathius Kiwanuka.

Kiwanuka was a member of two Super Bowl teams and amassed 38.5 sacks in his Giants career.

"The thing that has always impressed me about Kiwi is how serious he is about the game," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said in a release. "He was always prepared and always in outstanding condition and played very hard."

"And he had some nasty in him," he continued. "I always felt like you could count on certain things from him: eight [or] nine sacks, harass the quarterback, and you could move him around, inside, outside. He is dependable, reliable and there is no question about his professionalism. His character and professionalism and serious approach to the game will be missed."

Now quarterback Eli Manning and long snapper Zak DeOssie are the only remaining members of the 2007 Super Bowl team.

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Carolina Panthers Cut DeAngelo Williams

Carolina Panthers Cut DeAngelo Williams

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- DeAngelo Williams says he will no longer be a member of the Carolina Panthers.

Williams, the all-time leading rusher in franchise history, told WBTV in an exclusive interview that general manager David Gettleman and head coach Ron Rivera informed he he will not return next season.

"We sat down, and he told me, 'The fact of the matter is we're going to have to release you,' " Williams stated in the interview. "I said, you know, 'Why?' and he said, 'Because we don't run the ball enough. Just like you said back before the season started, we don't run the ball enough to keep you and Jonathan Stewart both, so we're going to release you."

Fellow running back Jonathan Stewart began to get majority of touches towards the end of last season. Over the last seven games, Stewart ran for 679 yards, where as in six games last season, Williams ran for just 219 yards.

In nine seasons, Williams 32, has rushed for 6,846 yards and 77 touchdowns.

The Panthers released a statement that Williams has not officially been released.

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James Harrison Not Ready to Retire

James Harrison Not Ready to Retire

NFL via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Linebacker James Harrison isn't ready to retire for a second time.The 36-year-old former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, who retired for 18 days last year before signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers, posted an Instagram photo Sunday night showing a half packed suitcase with the caption: "I decided to hold off on retirement, so it's time to pack up and head to AZ to start my training so I can be ready to play another year!"Harrison becomes a free agent in a month. In 11 games with the Steelers last season, he had 47 tackles and 5.5 sacks.During his eight NFL seasons, Harrison has twice been named a first-team All Pro and has won two Super Bowls with the Steelers.

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