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Sidney Rice picks the Seahawks

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Receiver Sidney Rice didn’t have an extensive market for his services.  In the end, it came down to two teams:  the Vikings and the Seahawks.

Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com reports that Rice has picked the Seahawks.

It’s a five-year deal, and it reunites him with Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

UPDATE:  A league source tells PFT that the contract is worth $41 million, with $18.5 million guaranteed.  The deal also includes $3 million in escalators tied to Pro Bowl berths.

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NFLPA reminds agents of new salary cap exceptions

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With NFL transactions currently moving faster than the speed of blog, there’s a chance that agents and/or teams will make mistakes.  The NFLPA, which soon will reacquire jurisdiction over the regulation of agents, has reminded them of a couple of things that should help when facing the “we don’t have the cap room” whining from personnel execs.

Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the once-and-future-union has sent a memo pointing out some of the new realities of the restored salary cap.

First, although each team has a cap limit of $120.4 million, each team may exercise a $3 million exemption, pushing the true cap to $123.4 million.

Second, each team can ignore up to $1 million in salary for three separate veterans with five or more years of service.

Third, teams can spend money now that is spread over future salary caps.  For example, the $30 million signing bonus paid to Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson on a six-year deal results in $5 million being allocated to each of the next six seasons.

Also, keep in mind that the Transition Rules don’t require teams to be under the salary cap until the next league year starts, on or about August 4.  Thus, teams can go over the cap now and get under it later.

Of course, later is coming up pretty soon.

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Jaguars in talks with Clint Session

C. Session Getty Images

The Colts brought back a few key veterans on Wednesday, but they may see another go to a division rival.

Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union reports the Jaguars are in negotiations with Clint Session.

“They love him, and he would love to be a part of them, and we’re trying to make that love affair happen,” his agent said.

Translation: If you are going to make an offer Colts, now would be a good time.

Session wouldn’t be the first linebacker to go from Indianapolis to Jacksonville.  The Jaguars made great use of Mike Peterson after signing him as a free agent.

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North Carolina fires Butch Davis

butch-davis AP

Butch Davis, the former Browns head coach who won two Super Bowl rings as a 1990s Cowboys assistant, has been fired from his job as the head coach at North Carolina.

Our friends at CFT have the details on the firing, which comes after a lengthy investigation into NCAA rules violations on Davis’s watch.

Davis has produced a wealth of NFL-caliber talent at North Carolina: The Tar Heels had 12 players at this year’s Scouting Combine, most of any school, and nine of those players were drafted. But many of those players were suspended for all or part of the 2010 season because of improper contact with agents.

The 59-year-old Davis had a reputation for being a good defensive assistant in the 1990s. If he wants to coach again, his best bet may be to try to find an NFL team willing to add him to its staff: The North Carolina scandal has probably tarnished his reputation significantly that he won’t get another job in the college ranks.

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Cortland Finnegan openly questions whether Hasselbeck fits the Titans

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The Tennessee Titans made a big splash in the free-agent market on Wednesday morning, agreeing to terms with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.  In theory, the arrival of the cagey veteran should help stabilize a somewhat dysfunctional roster.

In theory.

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan openly questioned the manner in which Hasselbeck fits with the franchise during an interview with 104.5 the Zone.

“He throws the ball with good checkdowns, good intermediate passing game,” Finnegan said, via Music City Miracles.  “That’s a West Coast offense they run, he throws the ball quick.  I don’t fear his deep ball.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s great at what he’s done.  Pro Bowls, All Pros, even playing in the Super Bowl, but for what we have going, what direction I want to go and the team wants to go, I don’t know if he fits what we need, but I’m not the G.M., I’m not the front office.

The good news, if there is any, is that Finnegan likes Jake Locker.

“He’s got all of it, I mean he can make all the throws, and you go back to college, he’s a tough physical kid, doesn’t mind running the football, getting down and dirty, and he works hard,” Finnegan said.  “Hard work beats talent.  Hands down, man down.  That’s something he’s done consistently.  The thing I’ve seen thus far is that he’s worked hard, and I can go to battle for someone like that.  No matter the interceptions, no matter the growing pains, we can go to work with him.”

If Finnegan’s comments are representative of more than a handful of the Titans players, Hasselbeck will have to win over the locker room quickly.  And if the Titans struggle early, it could be Locker who quickly is thrust into the fray.

UPDATE:  In the interests of clarity, Finnegan’s comments came on Monday.  We doubt that he has changed his mind in the last two days.

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Another kicker gets his cash

Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

Kickers are getting paid in the early days of free agency.  First it was Mason Crosby, who’s staying with the Packers.  Then, it was Olindo Mare, who’ll get $4 million in guaranteed money to move from Seattle to Charlotte.

Now, Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell has gotten in on the act.  Per Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Longwell has agreed to terms to stay with the Vikings.

Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the deal is worth $12 million over $4 years, with $3.5 million guaranteed.

Not bad for a 14-year veteran who’ll turn 37 next month.

Longwell’s contract is virtually identical to Mare’s, with Mare getting an extra $500,000 guaranteed.

After signing with the Vikings following nine seasons with the Packers, Longwell will match that tenure in Minnesota if he plays out the full duration of the new deal.

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Braylon Edwards says the Jets don’t want him

Braylon Edwards AP

Braylon Edwards appears to be on the way out in New York, writing on Twitter today that he doesn’t think the Jets want him.

“I would love to be a Jet but the feeling doesn’t seem to be mutual with the management.” He later deleted his tweet, but Jenny Vrentas of the Star-Ledger was among the reporters who had already spotted it. (Note: Once something has been published online, it never really disappears.)

All indications are that the Jets made Santonio Holmes their top priority, and after signing Holmes, they won’t spend the kind of money it would take to sign Edwards as well. So we can expect him to test the free agent market.

Edwards had more to say on Twitter, having a laugh about getting sentenced to probation and community service for drunk driving.

“All these court appearances I should have practiced law,” Edwards tweeted. “Lol quick joke to lighten up my mood, bare with me the storm will be over shortly.”

Edwards then pleaded for some team to step up and make him an offer “so we can get this thing moving forward.”

For Edwards, moving forward will apparently mean moving away from the Jets.

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Trade talks will keep Kolb away from Eagles camp

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It’s been reported that Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson won’t be reporting to training camp.  Another fairly high-profile players also won’t be there on Thursday.

Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that quarterback Kevin Kolb won’t show up, due to ongoing trade talks.

McLane also reports that a trade that would send Kolb to the Cardinals for cornerback Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie and draft picks is being worked out.

It’s unclear whether Kolb’s failure to report will be excused by the team.

For weeks if not longer, many had presumed that a trade sending Kolb to the Cardinals was a done deal.  As we pointed out last night, if it truly were a done deal, the deal would be done by now.

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49ers keep Ray McDonald

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Free agent defensive lineman Ray McDonald is staying in San Francisco.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the 49ers reached an agreement with McDonald on a five-year, $20 million deal that includes $7 million guaranteed.

McDonald has played his entire four-year career with the 49ers. He has played in all 32 games the last two seasons, but hasn’t started any.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes that McDonald was one of the 49ers’ top priorities to re-sign, and he’ll likely step in as the starter at left defensive end if Aubrayo Franklin leaves.

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Josh Wilson heads slightly south to Redskins

Josh Wilson AP

The Redskins didn’t pilfer guard Marshall Yanda from the Ravens as planned, but they will take one of the Ravens’ cornerbacks.

Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun reports that Josh Wilson will join the Redskins on a deal averaging $4.5-$5 million.  We were impressed with Wilson last year; he was probably Baltimore’s best cornerback down the stretch in 2011.  He ostensibly replaces Carlos Rogers in Washington.

The mid-level cornerback market is starting to thin out slightly with Drayton Florence and Wilson off the board.  This is a strong sign the Redskins won’t go after any of the big cornerback names on the market.

The Ravens may up their efforts to re-sign Chris Carr now . . . assuming they aren’t getting into the Asomugha business.

UPDATE: Wilson’s deal is for $13.5 million over three years, with $6 million guaranteed according to Adam Schefter.

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Patriots keep Sammy Morris, want to retain Matt Light

Patriots running back Morris celebrates a two point conversion in front of Jets linebacker Harris during their AFC Divisional NFL playoff football game in Foxborough AP

The Patriots have been typically quiet for the first 32 hours of almost free agency.

You rarely hear the Patriots are in on a player, because agents know they could face retribution if unwanted word leaks out.  Agents don’t have to be shy when a deal is done, however.

As noted by our friend Tom Curran of CSNNE.com, Sammy Morris’ agent revealed the veteran running back returned to the team on a one-year contract.

In one sense, it’s a big of a surprise.  The Patriots are very deep at running back and Morris may have a tough time making the team.  On the other hand, Bill Belichick traditionally gives his favorite guys a chance to compete if they want the opportunity.  Morris has beaten the odds before.

One of the biggest questions facing the Patriots entering camp concerns left tackle Matt Light.  We haven’t heard a lot about him as a free agent yet, but Curran told Florio on PFT Live Wednesday that the team wants to keep him.

“The Patriots want to keep him here. They really need do. Solder’s the left tackle coming in as a rookie, no offseason and the responsibility of protecting Tom Brady’s blindside.

“Efforts to get anything from the Patriots or agents who deal with the Patriots are very difficult right now, but the Patriots do want to keep Matt Light, that’s confirmed. Whether or not he’s able to go out on the open market and demand a huge sum is unclear as well.”

For the for the rest of today’s show, including interviews with Charles Johnson and Jason Babin head to the PFT Live homepage or download the show on iTunes.

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Giants will cut Rocky Bernard

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Rocky Bernard is leaving the Giants.

A league source tells PFT that Bernard, a defensive tackle who has played the last two years with the Giants, was unable to reach a deal with the team on a restructured contract. He’ll be cut tomorrow.

The 32-year-old Bernard has played 29 games over the last two seasons. He signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Giants in 2009 and was scheduled to make $3 million in 2011.

Prior to playing in New York, Bernard played seven seasons with the Seahawks. He’ll now be an unrestricted free agent.

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Lions sign Drew Stanton, John Wendling

Drew Stanton, Barrett Ruud AP

There’s been a lot of buzz about the Lions being this year’s breakout team and two members of last year’s roster didn’t want to miss the fun.

The Lions re-signed unrestricted free agent quarterback Drew Stanton and safety John Wendling on Wednesday. Stanton signed a one-year deal while Wendling re-upped for three years. The Detroit Free Press reports that Wendling’s deal is worth $2.75 million while details of Stanton’s pact aren’t known.

Stanton started three games for the Lions last season and did well in two of them, including a 23-20 Week 15 win over the Buccaneers that helped keep Tampa out of the playoffs. He was 69-of-119 overall for 780 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He and Shaun Hill, who is coming off back surgery, will back up Matthew Stafford this season with the order to be decided during training camp.

Wendling is back with the Lions because of his special teams play. He was the NFC alternate special teamer for last season’s Pro Bowl (a piece of information that eluded this writer until today) and is expected to lead those units for the Lions again this season.

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Jets stay in the Nick Folk business

Wild Card Playoffs - New York Jets v Indianapolis Colts Getty Images

Nick Folk became a, pardon the expression, folk hero around New York after he hit a 32-yard field goal to beat the Colts in the first round of the playoffs.

He’ll get a chance to add to his burgeoning legend in 2011. Folk’s agents tweeted that their client and the Jets agreed to terms on a one-year contract Wednesday. No financial terms have been disclosed at this point.

Folk made 30-of-39 field goals during the regular season in his first season with the Jets. Folk kicked for the Cowboys before coming to New York, but lost his job in 2009 thanks to erratic kicking following offseason hip surgery. He’s the third member of the Jets to re-sign with the team, joining Santonio Holmes and Wayne Hunter.

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Broncos bidding for Brandon Mebane

Drew Brees AP

Perhaps the best under the radar defensive tackle available in this year’s free agent agent class is getting attention from the team most desperate for defensive tackles.

Brandon Mebane and the Broncos are involved in “serious” negotiations, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post.  The Seahawks are also trying to keep Mebane, and ESPN reported that the Saints could be interested.

We think Mebane will get a surprisingly big contract.  There just aren’t many quality young defensive linemen and the Broncos desperately need run-stuffing help.

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