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Garcia to sign with Tampa Bay...and other updates
Tracking the comings and goings in free agency
By Adam Schefter
(March 3, 2007) -- Free agency has opened with a flurry. Already, numerous teams are on the board. Take a glance at the deals, and the potential soon-to-be deals.
Saturday, March 3
The Buccaneers and free-agent quarterback Jeff Garcia have reached a contract ageement. The deal will be announced later in the day.
Friday, March 2
The Patriots are expected to sign free agent LB Adalius Thomas and TE Kyle Brady.
The Saints are scheduled to host free agents CB Ken Hamlin and LB Brian Simmons on Saturday.
The ***** have signed CB Nate Clements to the biggest contract ever given to a defensive player -- eight years, $80 million, including $22 million guaranteed.
Browns have signed OT Eric Steinbach to seven-year contract worth $49.5 million with $17 million guaranteed.
Bills have agreed to terms with guard Derrick Dockery on seven-year deal worth $49 million with $18.5 million guaranteed.
(Note: Last year, Steve Hutchinson deal was worth $49 million for seven years with $16.5 guaranteed. Dockery (guard) matches that, and Steinbach (tackle) just beats it. Both Steinbach and Dockery got more guaranteed money than Hutchinson.)
Also, the Bills and OT Langston Walker have agreed to terms on five-year deal worth approximately $25 million.
Buccaneers have signed free-agent DE Patrick Chukwurah to five-year contract worth $5.5 million with $400,000 guaranteed.
The Falcons have signed FB Ovie Mughelli to a six-year contract worth $18 million, including $5 million guaranteed.
Giants officially sign C Shaun O'Hara.
Free-agent LB Napoleon Harris scheduled to visit the Buccaneers Friday and Chiefs Saturday.
Rams hosted visits with free agents LB Tully Banta-Cain and WR Drew Bennett.
Patriots hosted visits with free agents TE Kyle Brady and RB Sammy Morris.
***** also played host to free-agents S Michael Lewis.
Browns hosted visit with DE Antwaan Peek.
Redskins hosted visit with free-agent LB London Fletcher. Redskins also scheduled to host visit with CB Fred Smoot today.
Broncos hosted visits with free agents TE Daniel Graham, RB Ahman Green and DE Patrick Kerney, and scheduled to welcome QB Brad Johnson on March 3.
Free-agent RB Dominic Rhodes is scheduled to visit the Giants Friday.
Free-agent G Kris Dielman is scheduled to visit the Seahawks Friday.
Free-agent FB Justin Griffith is scheduled to visit the Bucs Friday.
Free-agent WR Kevin Curtis is scheduled to visit the Vikings Friday and the Lions Saturday.
Free-agent QB Jeff Garcia is scheduled to visit the Raiders Friday.
Free-agent DE Dewayne White scheduled to visit the Lions Friday.
The Jaguars have signed RT Tony Pashos and K Josh Scobee, each to five-year deals. Pashos' deal is for $24 million, including a $9 million signing bonus.
Quarterback Jake Plummer is expected to retire. The Broncos and Buccaneers had agreed to terms on a trade to send Plummer to Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, but the trade would be nullified by Plummer's decision to retire.
Dolphins have released DE Kevin Carter and G Jeno James, the team announced. (Dolphins have yet to release Joey Harrington. His roster bonus is not due until next week, so they have some time.)
The Patriots have released RB Corey Dillon and re-signed RB Heath Evans.
Jets have released QB Patrick Ramsey.
The Lions released TE Marcus Pollard, DT Marcus Bell and DT Tyoka Jackson; The Lions also traded DE James Hall to St. Louis for their second 2007 fifth-round draft choice. Detroit's trade of Dre' Bly to Denver became official.
The Falcons released LB Edgerton Hartwell and LB Ike Reese.
Vikings have released S Tank Williams.
Re: Garcia to sign with Tampa Bay...and other updates
So do you think Chris Simms remains the starter or will Garcia get the nod?
Re: Garcia to sign with Tampa Bay...and other updates
Updated: March 3, 2007, 2:49 PM ET
Bucs agree with Garcia, trade for Plummer
By Len Pasquarelli
Just one day after quarterback Jake Plummer indicated he'd rather retire than relocate in a trade, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have recovered, signing unrestricted free agent Jeff Garcia on a deal that could allow the veteran to again challenge for a starting job in the league.
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Jeff Garcia had been in talks with the Raiders. But when the Bucs' efforts to land Jake Plummer apparently fell through, Garcia called an audible.
Then they traded for Plummer anyway, sending a 2008 conditional draft pick to the Denver Broncos on Saturday in exchange.
While terms were not yet available, ESPN.com's John Clayton reported the deal for Garcia was believed to be for about $5 million a year. The team announced the signing on its Web site.
Garcia quickly became the Bucs' primary target on Friday after Plummer, who has played the past four seasons in Denver but lost his job to rookie Jay Cutler last year, decided that he did not want to join the Bucs. Tampa Bay would have surrendered a fourth-round draft pick to the Broncos under terms of the preliminary trade agreement.
Part of the rationale in completing the Plummer deal, after it had fallen apart, is that Denver coach Mike Shanahan does not want the quarterback to un-retire in a few months and attempt to sign with another team. League sources said Saturday afternoon that the Broncos suspected Plummer might still attempt to join the Houston Texans, where former Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak is the head coach.
By trading Plummer's rights to the Bucs, even for a conditional draft choice, the Broncos have forced his hand. If Plummer decides that he wants to play in 2007, he could not sign anywhere he wanted, because Tampa Bay now technically has been assigned his existing contract.
The only potential risk for the Bucs is that, if Plummer does decide to play, Tampa Bay becomes responsible for his 2007 base salary of $5.3 million.
The deals would give the Bucs two veteran quarterbacks to compete with Chris Simms for the starting job.
Garcia also was sought by several other teams, including Denver and the Oakland Raiders.
The opportunity in Tampa Bay is a good one for Garcia because of Gruden's feelings for him, and the fact the Bucs are not yet ready to hand Simms the No. 1 job. Simms is coming off a season in which he underwent a splenectomy, missed much of the campaign, and has been forced to spend months in rehabilitation.
Plus, Gruden is a coach who simply loves to collect quarterbacks and always feels that his depth chart is never stocked well enough. Garcia has played in the past in offenses that are similar to the design Gruden uses, so the fit should be a solid one for all parties involved.
Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles closed the door on Garcia's return there when they signed A.J. Feeley to a three-year contract extension. The move was somewhat surprising, given that Garcia posted a 5-1 record and led the Eagles to a playoff berth after replacing the injured Donovan McNabb.
Under the right circumstances, Philadelphia probably would have welcomed Garcia back for another season, but only on its conditions and on its timetable. His reluctance to re-sign with the Eagles before the outset of free agency solidified the desires of some within the organization to pursue Feeley instead, and to essentially make him the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart.
All along, though, Garcia and agent Steve Baker knew they would have alternatives beyond the Eagles, and the Plummer situation simply created another option for them.
"Jeff feels he has multiple good options, but the opportunity to play for Jon Gruden in Tampa is something that really excites him," Baker said on Friday afternoon. "Jon is a coach who Jeff believes has the ability to bring out the best in him. In fact, he feels that by playing for Jon, he has a very good chance of duplicating the success he had with the Eagles in Philadelphia last year."
A three-time Pro Bowl performer, but a quarterback nomad since 2003, his final season with the San Francisco *****, Garcia is joining his fourth different franchise in four seasons.
In 99 games, including 92 starts, Garcia has completed 1,811 of 2,972 passes for 20,385 yards, with 136 touchdown passes and 73 interceptions, for an efficiency rating of 86.4. He has thrown for more than 2,500 yards five times in his career.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.