Falcons lure JacksonThe Atlanta Falcons replaced Michael Turner with another proven, productive running back. Steven Jackson, the top running back in free agency, agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Falcons on Thursday.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons replaced Michael Turner with another proven, productive running back.
Steven Jackson, the top running back in free agency, agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Falcons on Thursday.
Also getting new deals were backup quarterback Matt Cassel in Minnesota, pass rusher Cliff Avril in Seattle and cornerback Keenan Lewis in New Orleans. The New York Giants signed defensive backs Ryan Mundy and Aaron Ross.
And the Houston Texans were rolling out the red carpet to make their pitch to safety Ed Reed.
Day 3 of the NFL’s free agency frenzy was highlighted by the 29-year-old Jackson moving on from St. Louis after his eighth straight 1,000-yard season.
“I think this is a very big signing for us,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told The Associated Press. “It continues to bolster our offensive firepower. It gives us not only strength, power in running ability but also the versatility to catch out of the backfield, which is a very important part of this offense.”
The Broncos have gone on a spending spree for the second straight spring and on Thursday, Wes Welker, among the top prizes in this year’s free agent class, was welcomed to town. He said that while he was sad to leave Tom Brady in New England, he was thrilled to join Peyton Manning in Denver.
The most productive receiver in the league over the past six seasons, Welker said he’s also eager to team up with young 1,000-yard receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker to give the Broncos the “Three Amigos” Version 2.0.
“I think they were another big part of me wanting to come here,” Welker said. “They did a great job last year and hopefully I can just come in and try to help out.”
In Houston, Reed was picked up by general manager Rick Smith in the private jet of Texans owner Bob McNair. The move was tweeted by the team and then Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips tweeted that he was meeting with the Ravens veteran in his office, too.
Signing Reed would make up for an otherwise disappointing week for Houston. The Texans cut receiver Kevin Walter, then lost tight end James Casey to Philadelphia and safety Glover Quin to Detroit after the opening of the free agency signing period.
The 34-year-old Reed played for the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens. A nine-time Pro Bowler, Reed is the Ravens’ franchise leader in interceptions with 61.
—The Eagles began revamping their secondary by signing cornerback Cary Williams and safety Kenny Phillips, giving them four new faces in the defensive backfield in a three-day span. They also signed linebacker Connor Barwin to a six-year deal.
—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed linebacker Jonathan Casillas and receiver Kevin Ogletree.
—Detroit’s durable offensive lineman, Jeff Backus, announced his retirement after 12 seasons with the Lions.