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It was a wild first weekend of NFL free agency, with many veterans and top players opting to stay with their current teams. Here’s a roundup of all the action:
Arguably the best running back available this offseason finally found a new home. The Cleveland Browns and Ben Tate agreed to a two-year, $7 million deal. Tate spent the weekend in Cleveland and, on Saturday, it was reported the ex-Texans back was willing to sign a a year, “show me what you’ve got” sort of deal.
Julian Edelman tested the market, but it didn’t take long before he returned home. Edelman re-signed with the New England Patriots, though the terms of the agreement have yet to be disclosed. Edelman is coming off a career year and at one time was being targeted by the Browns.
New England added another veteran to its receiving corps in the form of Brandon LaFell, formerly of the Carolina Panthers. LaFell agreed to a three-year, $11 million deal.
One unexpected turn over the weekend was when Emmanuel Sanders signed with the reigning AFC champions. Sanders and the Denver Broncos agreed to a three-year, $15 million contract, and the former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout has a chance to replace the long-gone Eric Decker, who is now with the New York Jets.
Coming off a career year, 33-year-old Calvin Pace will stay in New York. Pace and the Jets agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract Sunday. Last year Pace was released by the team before turning in a 10-sack season.
There were many whispers Charles Tillman would follow former coach Lovie Smith to Tampa. Not so fast. The veteran corner re-upped with the Chicago Bears for one more season at $3.5 million. Tillman is entering his 12th season with the Bears and is coming off an injury riddled 2013 campaign.
Roman Harper was one of the New Orleans Saints’ cap casualties as the team made cap room to franchise tag tight end Jimmy Graham. One of the few remaining players from the Super Bowl-winning club, Harper is now bringing a veteran presence to an NFC South Rival.
Harper agreed to a two-year, $4.5 million deal with the Carolina Panthers, including a $1.5 million signing bonus, and will now get a chance to face New Orleans twice per season.
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