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Buccaneers add OL Carl Nicks, CB Eric Wright

03.14.12 at 12:11 pm ET
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One day after agreeing to a deal with wide receiver Vincent Jackson, the Buccaneers landed two other free agents: two-time Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Eric Wright. Both players agreed to five-year deals.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Nicks’ contract is worth $47.5 million, including $31 million guaranteed. That makes the former Saint the highest-paid guard in the NFL, passing Patriots standout Logan Mankins.

Wright, who had 73 tackles and four interceptions for the Lions last year, will earn a reported $37.5 million, with $15.5 million guaranteed.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency, Carl Nicks, Eric Wright,

WR Marques Colston stays with Saints

03.14.12 at 11:07 am ET
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Wide receiver Marques Colston and the Saints agreed on a new contract Tuesday. Colston, 28, has spent his first six season in New Orleans since being drafted in the seventh round out of Hofstra. The new deal runs up to five years.

“This was important to me, to be back with this in this situation,” Colston said in a team statement. “I was not looking to chase free agency. It was more important for me to be back in our program, a program we have been building and a program I believe in.”

The 6-foot-4 Colston has more than 1,000 receiving yards in five of his six seasons. He had 80 catches for 1,143 yards last season despite missing two games.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency, Marques Colston,

Patriots keeping an eye on Florida receiver Deonte Thompson?

03.14.12 at 1:35 am ET
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In the midst of all the free agency whirlwind, it’s easy to forget that it’s only one part of the team-building experience — the big colleges continue to showcase prospects at their Pro Days. And at Tuesday’s Pro Scout Day at the University of Florida, reps from the Patriots reportedly had their eye on ex-Gator wideout Deonte Thompson.

This story in the Palm Beach Post details Thompson’s Pro Day, including the fact that his 40 was between a 4.23 and 4.33, as well as the news that the receiver was later flagged down by a Patriots’ scout who was apparently trying to set up a meeting.

At Florida, the 6-foot, 200-pound Thompson caught 101 passes for 1,446 yards and nine touchdowns. After a 38-catch season as a junior, he slipped to 21 receptions for 264 yards and one touchdown as a senior.

Quarterback John Brantley, running back Chris Rainey and defensive tackle Jaye Howard were among those who joined Thompson at the workout. (In addition, cornerback Janoris Jenkins also made an appearance after being kicked off the team following his second marijuana-related arrest. Jenkins finished his college career at North Alabama.) The workout drew NFL scouts from 24 teams and one head coach, Jacksonville’s Mike Mularkey.

In the past, the Patriots have drafted more than their share of Gators, including Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham, Chad Jackson and Aaron Hernandez.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes, Chad Jackson, Chris Rainey

Report: Brandon Lloyd will visit 49ers

03.14.12 at 1:19 am ET
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Free agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd will visit the 49ers, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Lloyd, who has been connected with the Patriots for several reasons — not the least of which is his well-known fondness for current New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels — is considered one of the real values on the market. The 30-year-old is a 6-foot, 188-pounder who has averaged 74 catches the last two seasons but isn’t likely to command the elite dollars that other wide receivers like Vincent Jackson have already gotten on the open market.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency, adam schefter, Brandon Lloyd, Josh McDaniels

WR Reggie Wayne signs three-year deal to return to Colts

03.13.12 at 9:58 pm ET
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Free agent wide receiver Reggie Wayne signed a three-year deal to stay in Indianapolis, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 33-year-old Wayne, who has spent his entire 11-year career with the Colts, has caught 862 passes for 11,708 yards and 73 touchdowns.

His return is Indy is a curious move, given the fact that the bulk of the Colts’ offensive veterans — including quarterback Peyton Manning, running back Joseph Addai, tight end Dallas Clark and wide receiver Pierre Garcon — have already moved on from Indy, or are expected to move on sometime soon.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency, adam schefter, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai

CB Cortland Finnegan signs with Rams

03.13.12 at 9:41 pm ET
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Free agent cornerback Cortland Finnegan has signed a deal with St. Louis, reuniting him with former Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher. Finnegan reportedly signed a five-year, $50 million deal with the Rams.

The 28-year-old, a 5-foot-10, 188-pounder, was considered one of the elite defensive backs in free agency.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency, Cortland Finnegan, Jeff Fisher,

Five early thoughts on free agency and the Patriots

03.13.12 at 6:52 pm ET
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After the first few hours of NFL free agency, here are five incredibly early Patriots’-related thoughts:

1. Devin McCourty is a happy man. The deal that sent wide receiver Brandon Marshall from Miami to Chicago for draft picks gets one of the premiere receivers in the division out of the AFC East, which should make life considerably easier for the New England secondary, and McCourty in particular. Marshall absolutely hammered McCourty and the Patriots last season, going for seven catches and 139 yards in the season opener and adding six catches for 143 yards and a touchdown when the two teams met again in December.

2. Wes Welker is a happy man. Before the start of free agency, the Patriots hit Welker with the franchise tag, which will likely mean the veteran wide receiver will get a $9 million payday for the 2012 season. But the next time the two sides sit down at the negotiating table, the landscape will be far different, especially after the Redskins reportedly signed fellow receiver Pierre Garcon to a five-year, $42.5 million deal, including $21.5 in guaranteed money. While Welker is a full five years older than Garcon, his numbers over the last three years have been demonstrably better than the former Colts’€™ pass catcher. So that effectively changes the market for Welker, who will likely look for something north of that when the two sides do decide to revisit talks.

3. BenJarvus Green-Ellis could be a happy man soon.
There’€™s apparently some movement with Green-Ellis. The veteran running back was one of New England’€™s 16 unrestricted free agents who hit the market on Tuesday afternoon, but according to Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports, there are two ‘€œunknown teams’€ involved in a possible pursuit of the free agent, while the Patriots ‘€œwant him back.’€ (In the past, the Chiefs have been mentioned as a possible suitor for Green-Ellis.) Cole says to look for a deal in the $3 million to $4 million range, which is probably a little too much for New England. Not saying the Patriots would be completely against signing him at that price — only that it would make New England take a long look at their in-house options at running back going forward and what might be available in free agency.

4. No Red Bryant for the Patriots.
The talk about the defensive tackle possibly heading to New England hit a fever pitch Tuesday afternoon, but it was quickly squelched when the Seahawks locked up Bryant with one of the first big deals in free agency. The 6-foot-4, 332-pounder started all 16 games for Seattle last season, the team that drafted him in the fourth round out of Texas A&M in 2008. (As for another big defensive body, Mario Williams is making a visit to the Bills on Tuesday night, who appear to be very aggressive in their pursuit of what is likely the premiere defensive player on the market.)

5. As for the Patriots, they were mostly quiet.
The one bit of news that did pop up specifically relating to the franchise was the report that New England was expected to re-sign special teams ace Matthew Slater some time on Tuesday, per Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network. Slater, who made the Pro Bowl this past season, just finished up his fourth season with the Patriots, having worked as a wide receiver, defensive back and special teamer. The 6-foot, 200-pounder, an unrestricted free agent, caught one pass for 46 yards this season, and also saw extensive time at safety.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency, BenJarvus Green Ellis, Brandon Marshall, Devin McCourty
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