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Old 02-17-2012, 11:49 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: BILLS GET AVRIL, TULLOCH, JOHNSON
by DC Insider Rick Bennett




D-Line and QB help arrive in Buffalo.

The Buffalo Bills announced a series of signings this evening, including stealing a pair of defenders from the Lions.

The biggest name of the group is easily DE Cliff Avril. Avril was a hot commodity, prized by several teams, but ultimately decided on Buffalo. He was offered an Elite deal and liked the idea of sharing the d-line with quality players in Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams. The move also allowed Avril to stay as a 4-3 DE, rather than move to 3-4 OLB as several teams wanted him to do.

Joining Avril is former Lions teammate LB Stephen Tulloch. Tulloch also signed an Elite deal and will solidify the middle of the Bills LBing corps.

Finally, the Bills added some QB competition for incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick in the form of Josh Johnson. The Bills offered Johnson a Mid-level deal, borderline starter money. Fitzpatrick struggled down the stretch last season and Johnson will provide a solid backup option and possible competition.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:58 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: HASSELBECK RETURNS TO TITANS
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Veteran QB back in the fold.

The Titans released Matt Hasselbeck earlier in the offseason in an attempt to save some money. Their ploy worked when Hasselbeck opted to return to the Titans on a reduced salary.

Interest was minimal on the free agent market for Hasselbeck, so he resigned with the Titans on a Mid-level deal.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:08 AM    (permalink
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SIGNING: PACKERS LAND GAITHER, RESIGN WELLS
by DC Insider Rick Bennett



Two more bodies to protect Rodgers.

The Packers have announced the signings of two offensive lineman who will be doing the job of keeping the franchise QB on his feet.

OT Jared Gaither was signed to a Mid-level deal and will be tasked with protecting the blindside of Aaron Rodgers. Gaither was offered a few similar deals, but none offered him the opportunity to compete for a Superbowl like the Packers did.

C Scott Wells resigned with the team at a Quality level deal and will continue to snap the ball to Rodgers.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:43 AM    (permalink
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How the Michael Griffin signing impacts New England
by Matthew Jones


Griffin joins Pat Chung in New England's secondary.

Perhaps New England's biggest weakness in 2011 was the play at safety, where the team released Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Jarrad Page, and Brandon McGowan in preseason only to end up forced to experiment with the likes of James Ihedigbo, Sergio Brown, Josh Barrett, Nathan Jones, Sterling Moore, and Ross Ventrone. The instability at the position had a negative effect on New England's pass defense, in particular Devin McCourty, who was forced to cover the likes of Vincent Jackson and Brandon Marshall without being able to rely on safety help over the top.

Signing Michael Griffin brings a known quantity to the free safety spot opposite Patrick Chung. Griffin, a 2010 All-Pro and former first-round draft pick, has appeared in every game over the past five seasons and developed into a starter during his rookie season. He has recorded 17 career interceptions and broken up 44 passes in addition to making 389 tackles, an average of over 70 per season. His size, physicality, durability, ball skills, and aggressiveness make him one of the league's most well-rounded safeties. New England will enter the 2012 season with a strong secondary consisting of Devin McCourty and Ras-I Dowling on the outside at cornerback, as well as Griffin and Patrick Chung deep.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:51 AM    (permalink
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SIGNING: EAGLES SIGN VINCENT JACKSON
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Vjax to the city of brotherly love.

A year after "winning" free agency but failing to make the playoffs, the Eagles cast out their free agent net again this year and brought in one of the top WRs in former Charger Vincent Jackson.

Jackson provides a huge 6'5 frame for QB Michael Vick and should compliment Philly's other weapons nicely. Jackson signed an Elite level deal and was thrilled that the Eagles made him their top FA priority.

This also means that the Eagles are far more likely to trade Desean Jackson, or potentially pull the franchise tag tender if they can't find a trade partner.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:59 AM    (permalink
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SIGNING: NICKS LANDS WITH CHIEFS
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


I hope he likes BBQ.

Carl Nicks was widely considered the top free agent offensive lineman available, and he'll be taking his talents to Kansas City.

The big guard signed an Elite level deal with the Chiefs and will be tasked with trying to keep the Chiefs QBs healthy this season.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:04 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: BENGALS LAND FOUR BIG FREE AGENTS: MATHIS, DIEM, THOMAS AND ROBINSON
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Mathis allowed 0 sacks in 2011.

A day after landing stud DE Dwight Freeney, the Bengals kept on spending the money.

First, they signed free agent guards Evan Mathis (formerly of Philly, Elite deal) and Ryan Diem (formerly of Indy, Quality deal.) They will slot in on the o-line that will be charged with keeping sophomore QB Andy Dalton upright and healthy.

But they weren't done there...not by a long shot. They also offered an Elite level deal to former Giants CB Terrell Thomas. Thomas missed all of 2011 due to a knee injury after great years in 2009 and 2010. The Elite level deal is a bit of a risk to a guy coming off of a serious injury, but the Bengals were willing to take the chance.

Finally, the Bengals added to their WR corps by signing former Cowboys Laurent Robinson to a Quality level deal. Robinson broke out in 2010 and the Cowboys wanted him back. Cincy simply offered him more money than the Cowboys could afford to be the #2 WR to AJ Green. Whether the Bengals remove the franchise tag on Jerome Simpson now or not has yet to be revealed.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:18 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: CHIEFS SIGN ORTON, MCCLAIN
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Will he win the starting job in 2012?

(I accidentally overwrote this post so...)

Chiefs resign Orton to Quality level deal, will compete for the starting job. Seattle and Washington showed interest, but didn't pony up the same money as the Chiefs.

They also resign FB McClain to a Mid-level deal.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:32 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: BRONCOS SIGN TWO, RESIGN ONE
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Carlson is the newest Bronco.

The Denver Broncos had the most cap space available headed into the free agent signing period, and while they wait to hear back from prized FA Mario Williams, they confirmed the signings of three lower level players.

First, the resigned DT Brodrick Bunkley to a Quality level deal. Bunkley was the team's best run defender last season and will now be with the team long term.

Additionally, the Broncos added former Seahawks TE John Carlson for a Quality level deal. Carlson received a TON of Mid-level offers elsewhere in the league, but the Broncos were the only team to offer him more. He'll immediately be the starter at TE.

Finally, the Broncos added CB Eric Wright, formerly of the Browns and Lions. He will provide depth at a Mid-level deal.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:40 PM    (permalink
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Skins Make Final Push for Manning


This morning, Mike Shanahan boarded Redskins One and personally flew to Peytons home in Greenwood, IN to sit down with him one on on. "We know that Peyton is nearing a decision and we understand that there are a lot of things for him to consider but we truly believe that he is the missing piece to the puzzle here in Washington and has a chance to be a part of something special." said coach Shanahan.

In a bit of a surprise, Redskins owner Dan Snyder allowed Mike to pack up and bring the Redskins lombardi trophies with him on his visit to Peyton. "Peyton knows what the ultimate goal is but seeing the lombardi trophy and holding it in your hands, that really makes you think. I know what it takes to win the big game. John Elway and I brought home two championships and I know that Peyton and I can do the same."
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:41 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: TITANS SIGN A PAIR OF FALCONS
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Lofton gets to be a 3 down LB in Nashville.

The Tennessee Titans signed two former Falcons today.

First, they signed LB Curtis Lofton to a Quality level deal. Interest was surprisingly low in the middle linebacker, with only two other teams offering Quality level deals. He liked his potential role in Tennessee the best though, agreeing to sign there.

Additionally, the Titans added long time Falcons center Todd McClure on a Mid-level deal. The Falcons were the only other team to make an offer, trying to keep him for a Low level deal where he would need to compete for the starting job.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:48 PM    (permalink
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Manning Narrows Options to Two
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Down to Arizona or Washington.

Peyton Manning still hasn't decided on who his next team will be, but did decide who it wouldn't be.

Peyton Manning has said "thanks but not thanks" to the Miami Dolphins. The team made it's best case possible for him but Manning decided to pass on their offer.

Manning did not give any exact reasons, but many think that Tom Brady's Patriots in the division, plus the Jets and an improving Bills team, he did not feel that it was his best chance to make the playoffs.

Manning is down to just two suitors now: Arizona and Washington.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:54 PM    (permalink
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Bills Cut Two, Sign Bell
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Bell will stay a Bill.

The Buffalo Bills have already brought in some good players in DE Cliff Avril and LB Stephen Tulloch to their defense, and now have resigned one of their key o-lineman.

Demetrius Bell chose to resign with the Bills for a Quality level deal, choosing them over signing a similar deal elsewhere. He likes Buffalo and appreciates that the organization gave him a chance and has kept him around.

To create more cap space, the Bills have also announced the release of former backup QB Tyler Thigpen (made expendable with the Josh Johnson signing) and CB Drayton Florence. Combined, they save the team around $8 million.
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:02 PM    (permalink
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Denver makes call to Mario
In the last hours of Phase On of Free Agency, the Denver Broncos make a last ditch effort to convince Williams he's the team for him. A source at Broncos HQ has reported John Elway was on the phone with Williams no more than 30 minutes ago. Our source says the two talked for 20 minutes and it seemed to be going well. Keep track of Broncos signing news on denverpost.com
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:05 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: BROWNS SIGN MCINTOSH, BROWN
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


The newest Cleveland Brown.

The Browns got started with some free agent signings by nabbing a pair of former Washington Redskins.

First, they acquired LB Rocky McIntosh on a Quality level deal. McIntosh figures to kick outside in Cleveland to play next to franchise tagged D'Qwell Jackson.

Then, the Browns brought in OT Jammal Brown to play RT. Brown was a surprise release of the Redskins and joins the Browns on a Quality level deal as well.

Both players received moderate interest elsewhere, but neither was offered Quality level deals as another team's first choice at the position.
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:17 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: BEARS GET BOWE! SMITH AND BENNETT ALSO
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Bears finally get a #1 target for Jay Cutler.

After a tense standoff that had the Chiefs and Bears fighting over Dwayne Bowe into the wee hours of the morning, the star WR chose to head to the Windy City.

A number of teams offered Bowe elite level deals, but he finally narrowed his options down to resigning with the Chiefs or heading to the Bears. Former Chiefs exec and new Bears GM Phil Emery was instrumental in luring the WR to Chicago, where he'll immediately become the #1 WR and Jay Cutler's best friend.

Additionally, the Bears tacked on a few Mid-level signings by bringing in former Rams #2 overall draft pick Jason Smith and former Cowboys TE Martellus Bennett. Neither player drew much interest on the FA market and will have a good chance to win starting jobs in Chicago.

Somewhere, Jay Cutler is slightly less miserable looking. (I'd say that he's smiling...but c'mon now.)
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:07 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: REDSKINS SHOW COLSTON THE MONEY
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


But who will he be catching passes from?

While the Washington Redskins wait to see what Peyton Manning decides to do, they've decided to sweeten the pot a bit by signing former Saints WR Marques Colston to an Elite level deal.

For Colston, the decision came down to the Redskins or 49ers. Colston liked his fit in Washington a little better as the clear #1 option on offense and it would be closer to where he grew up in Pennsylvania.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:15 PM    (permalink
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Report: Mario Williams Leaning Towards Atlanta



According to unnamed source, former Houston Texan and free-agent Mario Williams is leaning towards signing with the Atlanta Falcons. Williams, the star player out of N.C. State, is known for his superb athleticism and pass-rushing skills.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank is known for going all out for his man. On Thursday night, Blank took out Williams to dinner, the two were joined by Falcons coaches Mike Smith and new addition Mike Nolan. Nolan had this to say of Williams, "He (Mario Williams) would make for a great addition to our defense, and no doubt we would love to have him. He's scheme versatile and when healthy arguably the most dominant defensive force in this game."

Apparently Mario Williams is quite intrigued by the role he would play in a Falcons uniform, and understands that he could be the player to finally push the Falcons over their playoff hump. Under the helm of Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons have yet to have a losing season, yet have not won a playoff game. "We would love to have a guy like Mario join the team," said Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, "he would instantly upgrade our team and make things tougher for opposing quarterbacks".

Mario Williams is expected to make his decision later tonight. Here's hoping he decides to join the Dirty Birds.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:15 PM    (permalink
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SIGNING: DOLPHINS BAG FLYNN
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Have they finally found a replacement for Marino?

Hours after being shot down in their pursuit of Peyton Manning, the Miami Dolphins have moved onto Plan B.

They've signed former Green Bay Packer Matt Flynn to be their QB, offering him a Quality level deal.

Flynn played extremely well in his two career starts, though his lack of experience scared a lot of teams off from making big offers. He will come into Miami and should assume the starting job right away.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:19 PM    (permalink
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BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
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Peyton Manning calls 4pm EST Press Conference
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


He will announce his team.

Peyton Manning has informed the media that he will be conducting a press conference at 4pm EST where he plans to announce which team he will sign with.

His choices have been narrowed down to the Cardinals and the Redskins. Both parties feel confident that Manning will sign with them.

Tune in at 4:00 to see who Manning chooses!
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:27 PM    (permalink
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BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
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SIGNING: REDSKINS NAB MYERS
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Will he be snapping the ball to Peyton Manning?

Chris Myers was considered one of the best centers on the free agent market, playing at a pro bowl level in 2011 with the Texans.

He will now be on the move to the nation's capital, where he signed a Quality level deal with the Redskins.

Myers would have preferred to return to the Texans, but the cash strapped team simply didn't have the money to compete with the Redskins offer. The Redskins also being a ZBS team, and Myers having played for Shanahan previously, both helped to seal the deal.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:37 PM    (permalink
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BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
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SIGNING: FALCONS SIGN CROWDER, SEVERAL OTHERS
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Crowder follows Mike Nolan to Atlanta.

The Falcons are thought to be one of the key players in the Mario Williams sweepstakes, but have made a number of minor moves while they wait for his decision.

Most notably, the Falcons have signed LB Channing Crowder, bringing him out of a one year retirement. He has signed a Mid-level deal to join the Falcons and play under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan once again.

Additionally, the Falcons signed several players to Low-level deals:

- WR Steve Smith - The former Eagle and Giant has been struggling to recover from microfracture surgery and will join the Falcons WR corps as the 3rd option behind Julio and Roddy White.

- TE Jacob Tamme - Tamme was the 2nd fiddle TE to Dallas Clark in Indy and will now backup/potentially replace Tony G.

- DE Trevor Scott - Scott was a promising player in Oakland a few years back but dropped off the charts in recent seasons. He will likely fill Kroy Bierman's situation role in Atlanta.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:57 PM    (permalink
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BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
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SIGNING: STEELERS SIGN CAREY, OTHERS
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Maybe he can help keep Big Ben healthy this year.

After starting the offseason in salary cap hell, the Steelers worked hard and cast off a lot of dead weight in order to get some cap room.

They've now used that cap room to bring in some o-line help in the form of former Dolphin Vernon Carey. Carey figures to immediately become the starter at RG. He signed a Quality level agreement.

The Steelers also retained QB Byron Leftwich and WR Jericho Cotchery at Low-level deals.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:11 PM    (permalink
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BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
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PEYTON MANNING PRESS CONFERENCE
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


He chooses his next team.

Peyton: I'd like to thank everyone for tuning in. I've given my decision a lot of thought, and I feel truly blessed to have three great franchises open their doors to me.

So, without further ado, the team I will be playing for in 2012 is...



Reporter: Why choose Arizona?

PM: The chance to play with Larry Fitzgerald was a big reason. I think he's one of the best WRs in football. Tremendous athlete and great work ethic. We met and talked during Superbowl week and he really sold me on the organization and coaching staff there.

Reporter: Did Arizona's stadium have anything to do with it?

PM: It did. I like the stadium they have there and in that division, I'd get to play 9 games every year indoors, which is where I spent my whole career in Indy.

Reporter: Did the perceived weakness of the division have anything to do with it?

PM: Well, there are some good teams and good players in that division. The 49ers almost made the Superbowl this year don't forget. I just think Arizona is a great place to go play.

Reporter: Did your brother's presence in the NFC East keep you away from Washington?

PM: I'm a competitive guy and I love playing against Eli. That did not factor into the decision at all.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:26 PM    (permalink
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BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.BeerBaron is kind of a big deal around here, people know him.
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SIGNING: CARDINALS BOLSTER ROSTER, SIGN FIVE
by DC Insider Rick Bennett


Jay Feely will hopefully be kicking a lot of extra points after Peyton Manning scores TDs.

After bringing in the biggest free agent QB possibly ever, the Cardinals looked to made some lower level signings to help bolster their roster.

OT Levi Brown, cut earlier in the offseason to lower his cap number, returns to the team on a more more sensible Mid-level deal.

Veteran TE Todd Heap, cut in a similar fashion to Brown, also returns on a Low-level deal.

DE Vonnie Holliday comes back to the defensive line rotation on a Low-level deal, as does OL Rex Hadnot.

And of course, K Jay Feeley returns to the team as well, also on a Low-level deal.
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