The Latest: 49ers safety Jimmie Ward gets 3-yr deal to stay
The Latest on NFL free agency. Teams were required to use franchise tags on players by noon EDT Monday. Teams can negotiate with representatives of free agents for the next two days but cannot finalize any agreements. (all times EDT):
A person familiar with the deal says safety Jimmie Ward is returning to the San Francisco 49ers on a three-year contract.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Ward hadn’t signed the deal yet.
Ward is the second defensive starter to re-sign with San Francisco instead of hitting the open market as a free agent. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead signed a deal to remain with the Niners earlier on Monday.
San Francisco did lose one key defensive player when the team agreed to trade defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis for the No. 13 pick in this year’s draft. A person familiar with that trade confirmed it on condition of anonymity because it can’t be completed until the new league year begins Wednesday.
Ward was a first-round pick by the 49ers in 2014 but has been hampered by injuries most of his career. He was mostly healthy in 2019 and played a big part in San Francisco making it all the way to the Super Bowl before losing to Kansas City.
-- Josh Dubow reporting from Santa Clara, California.
A person with knowledge of the deal says the Dallas Cowboys and top receiver Amari Cooper have agreed on a long-term contract.
Cooper was set to become an unrestricted free agent and was already free to talk to other teams when the deal was reached. The person said Cooper’s contract was worth up to $100 million over five years. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced.
The Cowboys had to use their franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott. That move left them vulnerable on Cooper. He was acquired from Oakland for a first-round pick in a midseason trade in 2018.
The addition of Cooper did wonders for Prescott. But Cooper’s production tailed off in the second half of last season. The Cowboys underperformed and missed the playoffs amid high expectations. Dallas didn’t renew coach Jason Garrett’s contract and hired Mike McCarthy.
The 25-year-old Cooper has 5,097 yards receiving and 33 touchdowns in five seasons. He was the fourth overall pick in 2015 by the Raiders.
The Seattle Seahawks and defensive tackle Jarran Reed have agreed on a two-year contract that keeps him with the only team he’s played for.
Reed’s agent, Andy Simms, confirmed the signing on Monday night, which is reportedly worth $23 million.
Reed, 27, was a second-round draft pick of the Seahawks in 2016. His best season came in 2018 when he had a career-high 10½ sacks and seemed in line for a big payday as an interior pass rusher.
Reed had a down year last season that included a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. When he returned, Reed struggled to make the same impact. He had 27 tackles and two sacks in 10 games.
Bringing back Reed gives Seattle some stability on the defensive line with the uncertainty of what will happen with Jadeveon Clowney in free agency.
-- Tim Booth reporting from Seattle.
The Las Vegas Raiders have agreed on a contract with free agent quarterback Marcus Mariota to provide an experienced backup behind starter Derek Carr.
A person familiar with the deal said Monday the Raiders reached the deal with the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be signed until the start of the league year on Wednesday.
The Raiders were one of the teams rumored to be in the running for Tom Brady if he decided to leave New England as a free agent. They ended up with Mariota instead to give coach Jon Gruden a proven backup who could also challenge Carr for the starting role.
A person with knowledge of the deal says the New York Jets and former Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle George Fant have agreed to terms on a three-year contract worth $30 million.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday night because the contract can’t be signed until Wednesday, when the NFL’s new league year begins.
ESPN first reported the Jets’ agreement with Fant, saying it includes $13.7 million in guaranteed money.
The 27-year-old Fant was signed by Seattle as an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky in 2016. He has played in 46 games, while starting in 24. The 6-foot-5, 322-pound offensive lineman can play left and right tackle, filling a need at either spot for New York. Both of last year’s primary starters -- left tackle Kelvin Beachum and right tackle Brandon Shell -- are unrestricted free agents.
Fant was a power forward for Western Kentucky’s basketball team and didn’t join the football team until his final season, playing tight end. He converted to tackle after signing with Seattle and became a starter as a rookie.
It was the first move of the legal tampering period for Jets general manager Joe Douglas.
— Dennis Waszak Jr. reporting from New York.
A person with knowledge of the move says the Washington Redskins are signing guard Wes Schweitzer. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anoymity because the contract cannot be signed until Wednesday.
Schweitzer figures to compete for the starting left guard job as Washington replaces Ereck Flowers. The Redskins already placed the franchise tag on starting right guard Brandon Scherff.
Schweitzer is going into his fourth NFL season after spending the first three with the Atlanta Falcons.
A person familiar with the negotiations says linebacker Kyle Van Noy has agreed to a $51 million, four-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.
The person confirmed the deal on the condition of anonymity because the NFL signing period hasn’t begun. Van Noy tweeted “MiamiDolphins” with emojis wearing sunglasses.
Van Noy started the past three seasons for New England and totaled 15½ sacks, including a career-high 6½ last year. He’ll upgrade a Miami pass rush that finished last in the NFL in 2019 with 23 sacks.
— Steven Wine reporting from Miami.
The Panthers have agreed to terms with two free agents — Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly and Browns cornerback Juston Burris.
Weatherly agreed to a two-year, $12.5 million deal, his agent Blake Baratz announced on Twitter. Weatherly has played in 32 games and started seven in the past two seasons with the Vikings, with 59 tackles and six sacks. He could be a potential replacement for Mario Addison, who is an unrestricted free agent.
Burris announced on Instagram that he is coming home to play for the Panthers. No immediate terms were available on his contract.
---Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, N.C.
A person familiar with the negotiations says Byron Jones has agreed to a five-year contract worth more than $76.5 million with the Miami Dolphins, which will make him the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback.
The person confirmed the deal on condition of anonymity because the NFL free agent signing period hasn’t begun.
Last May, the Dolphins made Xavien Howard the league’s highest-paid cornerback. It’s uncertain whether Jones will replace or be paired with Howard, who has had at least one operation on each knee, most recently in December.
Jones has only two career interceptions and none since 2017, but he has missed just one game in his five NFL seasons, all with Dallas. He was a first-round pick by the Cowboys in 2015 and made the Pro Bowl in 2018.
— Steven Wine reporting from Miami
A person familiar with the situation says Saints starting defensive tackle David Onyemata will re-sign with New Orleans instead of entering free agency.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced. The agreement was first reported by NFL Network.
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Onyemata started all 15 regular-season games in which he played and the Saints’ lone playoff game last season, his first as a full-time starter. He had three sacks, giving him 7½ during the past two seasons.
The Seattle Seahawks have given a second-round tender to restricted free agent tight end Jacob Hollister, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the designation. NFL Network first reported the designation.
Hollister is coming off the best season of his young career, and will earn $3.259 million for the upcoming season if he stays with Seattle. Hollister can still negotiate with other teams, but the Seahawks would receive a second-round pick if they choose not to match.
— Tim Booth reporting from Seattle.
The New Orleans Saints and long snapper Zach Wood have agreed to terms of a four-year contract worth nearly $4.8 million
Wood’s agent, Mike Abadir, confirmed the agreement on Monday.
The 27-year-old Wood has played for New Orleans since 2017, when the Saints’ current run of three straight playoff seasons began.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations tells The Associated Press that the Denver Broncos have agreed to a four-year, $44 million free agent contract with offensive guard Graham Glasgow.
The deal includes $26 million in guarantees.
Although the versatile Glasgow can also play center and incumbent Connor McGovern is set to hit free agency, Glasgow will get his first look at guard following the Broncos’ decision to cut ties with oft-injured right guard Ronald Leary.
— AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton reporting from Englewood, Colorado.
The Tennessee Titans are keeping veteran Dennis Kelly around with a new multi-year contract after losing right tackle Jack Conklin to the Cleveland Browns.
The Titans announced they had agreed to terms.
Kelly has started 16 of his 58 games since the Titans acquired him in a trade in 2016 that sent Philadelphia wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Kelly has been versatile, starting at right tackle, left tackle, left guard and tight end in his career.
The 6-foot-8, 321-pound Kelly caught two touchdown passes last season, including one in Tennessee’s loss to Kansas City in the AFC championship game.
Free agent tackle Jack Conklin has agreed to a three-year, $42 million contract with the Browns, his agent Drew Rosenhaus told The Associated Press
Conklin, perhaps the best tackle available on this year’s market, will get $30 million guaranteed and earn $20 million in his first year, Rosenhaus said. Conklin will only be 28 when the deal expires.
The No. 8 overall pick in 2016, Conklin spent the past four seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He started all 16 games last season and helped block for NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry.
The Browns were looking for an upgrade at both tackle spots, and will slot Conklin in on the right side while perhaps drafting one next month. There are some top prospects available in this year’s class.
__ Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland.
The Minnesota Vikings have reached an agreement with punter Britton Colquitt on a three-year, $9 million contract, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract had not yet been finalized. Colquitt will get $5 million in guaranteed money, the person said.
Colquitt was eighth in the NFL last season with a net average per punt of 42.6 yards. He was the only punter in the league with 12 or more attempts, according to SportRadar, who did not have any touchbacks. The 11th-year veteran joined the Vikings in 2019, after three seasons with Cleveland and six seasons with Denver.
— Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis
The Atlanta Falcons have acquired tight end Hayden Hurst from the Baltimore Ravens, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because the trade won’t be officially announced before the NFL’s business year begins Wednesday.
The Falcons also acquired a 2020 fourth-round pick from the Ravens. Baltimore acquired second and fifth-round picks in this year’s draft from the Falcons.
The Falcons needed help at tight end after losing two-time Pro Bowler Austin Hooper to free agency.
The Falcons cut backup tight end Luke Stocker on Monday, one of several moves to clear cap space. The Falcons also cut offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo and are releasing running back Devonta Freeman and cornerback Desmond Trufant.
Hurst played in 16 games with Baltimore in 2019, including four starts. Early on, it became evident that another tight end, Mark Andrews, would be quarterback Lamar Jackson’s favorite option.
Hurst finished with 30 catches — third among Ravens tight ends — for 349 yards and two touchdowns.
— Charles Odum in Atlanta and David Ginsburg in Owings Mills, Md.
A person with knowledge of the move said the Redskins on Monday agreed to re-sign inside linebacker Jon Bostic to a $6.6 million, two-year deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract cannot be official until the start of the new league year Wednesday.
Bostic is staying with Washington after just one season there. He was tied for second on the team with 105 tackles in 2019.
New coach Ron Rivera and his regime liked Bostic enough to bring the veteran back. The soon-to-be 29-year-old will play in a different system under new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
Bostic is entering his seventh pro season after previously spending time with the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers. He has 419 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks in 86 regular-season games.
The Redskins are stocked along the defensive line with 2017 and 2018 first-round picks Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne and could select Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young with the second overall pick. They also have Ryan Kerrigan and Ryan Anderson as outside linebackers and impressive 2019 pick Cole Holcomb inside to pair with Bostic.
— Stephen Whyno reporting from Washington
The Panthers have released longtime special teams player Colin Jones.
The 32-year-old Jones played eight seasons with the Panthers, also serving as a reserve safety. He led the team in special teams tackles with nine in 2019 and finished his career in Carolina with 61 special teams tackles, second-most in franchise history.
— Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, N.C.
The San Francisco 49ers have traded star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 pick in this year’s draft.
A person familiar with the deal said Buckner will receive a new contract worth $21 million a year from the Colts. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal and contract can’t be finalized until the start of the league year Wednesday.
— Josh Dubow in Santa Clara, California
The San Francisco 49ers have signed defensive lineman Arik Armstead to a five-year contract worth up to $85 million before he hit the market as a free agent.
The defending NFC champion Niners locked up one of the key pieces of their defense with a long-term deal instead of using the franchise tag.
Armstead was a first-round pick for San Francisco in 2015 but didn’t make a big impact in his first four seasons in the league as he dealt with injuries that limited his playing time in 2016-17 and finding the right fit for his skills.
Ben Watson is hanging up his cleats for the second time.
The 39-year-old tight end announced his retirement in a message on Twitter on Monday, marking the end of a 15-year NFL career that included two stints in New England, as well as stops in Cleveland, New Orleans and Baltimore.
Watson retires with 547 catches for 6,058 yards and 44 touchdowns. He was drafted by the Patriots in 2004, winning a Super Bowl ring as a rookie. He spent his first six seasons in New England.
“I entered this league with a duffel bag and a dream,” Watson wrote in his Twitter post. “I exit holding the loving hand of my best friend, my wife of 14 years, and the (seven) tender gifts God has graciously given us to lead and love.”
His best season was in 2015 with New Orleans when he caught 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdowns — all career highs.
He initially planned to retire following the 2018 season but was courted by several teams. The Patriots eventually signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal as they looked to fill the hole created by the retirement of Rob Gronkowski.
He began his last NFL season by serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance following his final season in New Orleans in 2018.
He appeared in 10 games for the Patriots in 2019, catching 17 passes for 173 yards.
The Dallas Cowboys are moving forward with their plan to replace record-setting tight end Jason Witten.
The Cowboys have re-signed Blake Jarwin, giving their fourth-year player a $24 million, three-year contract with $9 million guaranteed. The move came a few weeks after Witten said he wanted to keep playing, even if it wasn’t in Dallas.
Witten set a club record by spending 16 seasons with the Cowboys, the most recent last season after retiring and spending one year in broadcasting. The 37-year-old is also the Dallas leader in catches and yards receiving. Witten is one receiving touchdown behind Dez Bryant’s career franchise record of 73.
Jarwin had 365 yards receiving and three touchdowns last season. The fourth-year pro tied the Dallas club record for touchdowns receiving in a game for a tight end in 2018 with three in the regular-season finale at the New York Giants. Those were the first three TDs of his career.
— Schuyler Dixon in Dallas
A person familiar with the negotiations says defensive end Shaq Lawson has agreed to a $30 million, three-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the NFL free-agent signing period hasn’t started. The contract could be worth up to $36 million, and $21 million will be guaranteed.
Lawson spent his first four NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills and last year had a career-high 6 1/2 sacks, which would have led the Dolphins. He was a first-round draft pick by the Bills in 2016.
__ Steven Wine in Miami, with John Wawrow in Buffalo contributing.
Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Ramon Foster is retiring.
The 11-year veteran made the announcement on Instagram, saying “when the time comes, you just know and now is a time for me to take a bow.”
Foster made the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Tennessee in 2009. He became a steadying force on a unit that evolved into one of the league’s best, helping pave the way for a high-powered offense that led Pittsburgh to four straight playoff appearances from 2014-17.
Foster turned 34 in January and the Steelers have several placements ready. Though he had a year left on the two-year, $8.25 million extension he signed in 2019, Foster figured to become a salary cap casualty if he didn’t decide to step away from the game.
—- Will Graves reporting from Pittsburgh
A person familiar with the deal says free agent linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski has agreed to a contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Kwiatkoski can’t officially sign the deal until the new league year starts on Wednesday.
The Raiders are in dire need of upgrades at linebacker after a revolving door at the position the past few years. The only linebacker who started a game last season that is still under contract with the Raiders is Marquel Lee.
The 26-year-old Kwiatkoski was a fourth-round pick by Chicago in 2016. He had his most extensive playing time last year when he had career bests with 76 tackles, three sacks, one interception and four passes defensed.
— Josh Dubow reporting from Alameda, California
Offensive lineman Ereck Flowers has agreed to terms on a $30 million, three-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.
The deal was confirmed by Flowers’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who said $19.95 million is guaranteed.
Flowers played for the Miami Hurricanes, was a first-round draft pick by the New York Giants in 2015 and started 46 games at tackle for them in his first three NFL seasons.
He started all 16 games last year for Washington, splitting his time between guard and tackle.
The Indianapolis Colts have released defensive tackle Margus Hunt and will re-sign receiver Daurice Fountain.
Releasing Hunt will save the Colts roughly $4 million against the cap.
He signed a two-year deal worth $9.1 million last year after having his best season in the NFL. But he lost the starting job in 2019 and wound up with 17 tackles, no sacks and no tackles for loss.
Fountain spent all of last season on injured reserve after suffering a dislocated and fractured left ankle in training camp. The Colts offered the exclusive free agent a one-year tender, which his agent, Andy Simms, says he will sign.
— Michael Marot reporting from Indianapolis.
The Browns are working toward a deal with two-time Pro Bowl free agent tight end Austin Hooper, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
Hooper was one of the main free agency targets for Cleveland, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because teams can’t officially announce deals until Wednesday.
Hooper has spent the past four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He’s had more than 70 catches the past two seasons.
NFL Network reported the sides have agreed to terms on a package that will make Hooper the NFL’s highest-paid tight end.
New Browns coach Kevin Stefanski preferred to run two-tight end formations during his one season as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator. Hooper could be paired with 2017 first-round pick David Njoku, who missed most of last season with a broken wrist suffered in Week 2.
Hooper had 75 catches for 787 yards and six touchdowns last season.
— Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland.
The Bengals used their franchise tag on A.J. Green, giving them time to try to work out a long-term deal with the star who is one of the most accomplished receivers in franchise history and would be a vital part of breaking in a new quarterback.
Green, 31, wants to finish his career in Cincinnati, where he has put down roots. Although he’s open to a multi-year extension that would pay him as an elite receiver, he has objected to staying for only one more season on a franchise designation.
Green has said he’ll skip voluntary offseason workouts if he’s tagged. The Bengals are expected to take Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow or another quarterback with the first overall pick in the draft.
The Bengals are free to negotiate with Green on a long-term deal through July 15.