Peter­son, Nel­son cut, Brees stays a Saint

NFL free agency kicks into high gear with big names on move, writes Barry Wilner.

Vancouver Sun - - SPORTS -

Adrian Peter­son’s short stint in Ari­zona is over. Jordy Nel­son’s long and pro­duc­tive stay in Green Bay has ended, too.

Mean­while, one day be­fore the league’s new year be­gins, it was learned Drew Brees is stay­ing put in the Big Easy, Case Keenum is headed to the Rocky Moun­tains, and Kirk Cousins will make his first visit as a free agent to Min­nesota. The Vik­ings long have been con­sid­ered a nat­u­ral land­ing spot for one of the most valu­able quar­ter­backs avail­able.

Seven-time All-Pro run­ning back Peter­son be­gan last sea­son with New Or­leans but, af­ter barely play­ing there, was dealt to the Car­di­nals. Peter­son rushed for 134 yards in a win over Tampa Bay and 159 in a win over San Fran­cisco. In six games, he gained 448 yards on 129 car­ries for Ari­zona be­fore be­ing side­lined with a neck in­jury.

Peter­son, who turns 33 next week, ranks 12th in the NFL in ca­reer rush­ing with 12,276 yards.

Nel­son had 550 re­cep­tions and 69 touch­down catches in 10 sea­sons in Green Bay. But his pro­duc­tion de­clined last sea­son with quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers side­lined much of the year by a col­lar­bone in­jury. He missed the 2015 sea­son with a ma­jor knee in­jury, then was the 2016 Come­back Player of the Year.

Brees has agreed to a two-year, US$50-mil­lion ex­ten­sion with New Or­leans, with $27 mil­lion guar­an­teed the first year, two peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the con­tract told The As­so­ci­ated Press. They spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity Tues­day be­cause the agree­ment has not been an­nounced.

Keenum, a backup when the sea­son be­gan, guided Min­nesota to the NFC North ti­tle and then into the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game. He’ll cash in with the Bron­cos.

The 30-year-old Keenum is con­sid­ered the sec­ond-best QB avail­able in free agency af­ter Cousins. He went 11-3 with 3,547 yards pass­ing, 22 touch­downs and seven in­ter­cep­tions. His last­sec­ond throw to Ste­fon Diggs stunned the Saints 29-24 in the play­offs.

Den­ver chose to by­pass in­cum­bents Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Pax­ton Lynch and go for Keenum, who couldn’t sign un­til to­day.

Mean­while, Kirk Cousins will visit with the Vik­ings to­day, agent Mike McCart­ney said. ESPN re­ported that Cousins will sign with the Vik­ings, but McCart­ney said no de­ci­sion has been made yet by his client. In other moves:

Su­per Bowl cham­pion Philadel­phia lost two tight ends, cut­ting vet­eran Brent Celek, then saw Trey Bur­ton agree to a fouryear, $32-mil­lion con­tract with Chicago. Five-time Pro Bowl de­fen­sive tackle Haloti Ngata and line­backer Corey Nel­son have agreed to one-year con­tracts with the Ea­gles.

The Bears also will be sign­ing Jack­sonville re­ceiver Allen Robin­son to­day and kicker Cody Parkey.

Ten­nessee agreed with New Eng­land cor­ner­back and one­time Su­per Bowl hero Mal­colm But­ler on a five-year deal worth more than $60 mil­lion. Agent Derek Simp­son said But­ler will sign the deal in­clud­ing $30 mil­lion guar­an­teed once free agency be­gins. But­ler spent the past four sea­sons with the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots and has eight ca­reer in­ter­cep­tions. He was benched for the Su­per Bowl in Fe­bru­ary.

Buf­falo bol­stered its in­te­rior de­fen­sive line, agree­ing to a deal with Car­olina tackle Star Lo­tulelei and re-sign­ing Kyle Wil­liams, who con­tem­plated re­tire­ment.

Kansas City will add wide re­ceiver Sammy Watkins and mid­dle line­backer An­thony Hitchens, fill­ing two glar­ing needs.

The 24-year-old Watkins in­tends to sign a $48-mil­lion, three-year con­tract with $30 mil­lion in guar­an­tees, while the 25-year-old Hitchens agreed to a five-year deal, two peo­ple fa­mil­iar with their de­ci­sions told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The Chiefs have needed to pair a play­mak­ing wide­out with Tyreek Hill. Watkins, the 2014 fourth over­all pick of the Bills, spent last sea­son with the Rams, where he caught 39 passes for 593 yards and eight touch­downs.

Re­ceiver Al­bert Wil­son is clos­ing in on a $24-mil­lion, three-year deal with the Dol­phins. Mi­ami traded top re­ceiver Jarvis Landry to Cleve­land and has a need. They also are near an agree­ment with Pa­tri­ots re­ceiver Danny Amen­dola.

The Dol­phins also cut line­backer Lawrence Tim­mons af­ter just one sea­son with them. Tim­mons went AWOL on the eve of last year’s opener, was briefly sus­pended and played poorly when he re­turned. He signed a $12-mil­lion, two-year con­tract in 2017 af­ter 10 sea­sons with the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers. His de­par­ture clears $5.5 mil­lion in cap space for Mi­ami.

Jack­sonville line­backer Paul Posluszny, 33, the sec­ond-lead­ing tack­ler in fran­chise his­tory, re­tired af­ter 11 sea­sons. Posluszny started his ca­reer in Buf­falo be­fore play­ing the fi­nal seven years in Jack­sonville. He led the Jaguars in tack­les five times. His 973 stops trail only Daryl Smith (1,089) in Jack­sonville’s record book.

The Jaguars are poised to sign All-Pro guard An­drew Nor­well to a five-year, $66.5-mil­lion con­tract. Nor­well’s deal will in­clude $30 mil­lion guar­an­teed.

Re­ceiver Mar­qise Lee has agreed to re-sign for a four-year deal worth $38 mil­lion.

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