NFL free agency 2013 tracker: James Harrison released, Anquan Boldin preparing for free agency


The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens share the headlines on Saturday, as James Harrison and Anquan Boldin are expected to be released before free agency opens on Tuesday.

NFL teams and agents for impending free agents can begin talking on Saturday -- though deals cannot be agreed to or made official until free agency opens officially on March 12.

With free agency just days away, some teams cleared cap space by releasing veterans, while others decided to lock up players, preventing them from reaching free agency.

Saturday has proven to be busy so far -- and here's a round up of the major action around the NFL.

Steelers release James Harrison

Perhaps the biggest news on Saturday came out of Pittsburgh, as the Steelers parted ways with longtime linebackerJames Harrison. Pittsburgh could not get Harrison to restructure his contract and take a paycut, and consequently released Harrison.

Behind the Steel Curtain | "One of the best Steelers of all-time"

Harrison was due more than $6.5 million in 2012 -- had the Steelers not cut him. Instead, the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year will hit the open market, and should attract plenty of interest around the league, despite the fact that he's entering his age 35 season.

Boldin on his way out of Baltimore

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin will test the free agent market. According to a USA Today report, Boldin rejected Baltimore's request to take a pay cut, and now the wide receiver is "preparing" to test free agency.

Baltimore Beatdown | Boldin's heart is in Baltimore

Boldin spent the last three years with the Ravens, and caught 65 passes for 921 yards and four touchdowns in the 2012 regular season, and was instrumental in Baltimore's Super Bowl run.

It's too early to speculate who could have interest in Boldin, but if he is released, he should draw plenty of interest from wide receiver-needy teams.

Patriots interested in Mike Wallace

The one thing New England's offense has lacked in recent years is a receiver who can stretch the field vertically outside the numbers -- and it just so happens that one of the best outside receivers is available in free agency this year. According to Armando Salguero, the Patriots have interest in signing Mike Wallace to a contract when free agency opens next week.

Pats Pulpit | Patriots could drive up Wallace's price tag

Of course, the price has to be right for the Patriots, as they seldom splurge on free agent signings. New England also has to figure out what to do with its own top free agents -- Wes Welker, Aqib Talib and Sebastian Vollmer.

New England will face stiff competition for Wallace, as the Dolphins and Vikings are said to be interested in the free agent.

Cribbs not expected back in Cleveland

Despite the fact that Cleveland has nearly $50 million in cap space to spend this offseason, it appears that the Browns will not re-sign kick return specialist Joshua Cribbs.

More: Dawgs by Nature

Cribbs has spent his entire eight-year career in Cleveland so far, but apparently will move on next week, when free agency opens. Per Fox Sports' report, Cribbs will be used as a wide receiver wherever he ends up, as well as a kick returner.

Though Cribbs hasn't been an effective wide receiver so far in his career, he could succeed in another system. At the least, he'll be returning kicks and punts elsewhere.

Bucs shopping Blount

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed LeGarrette Blount to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million -- but are already trying to trade Blount.

Bucs Nation | Rams realistic landing spot

Tampa Bay and Blount agreed to the deal just so they could trade Blount. Had the Buccaneers placed a second-round tender on Blount, he would have remained in Tampa Bay, as no team would be willing to surrender a second-round draft choice.

With a reasonable contract, the Buccaneers should have no problem moving Blount for a mid-round draft choice.

Saints keep Galette

The New Orleans Saints agreed to a three-year deal with restricted free agent Junior Galette on Saturday, keeping the pass rusher in New Orleans for the foreseeable future.

More: Canal Street Chronicles

Galette will now have an opportunity to work with Rob Ryan, and Ryan likely views Galette as a good fit in his 3-4 defense, as New Orleans switches from the 4-3. New Orleans will still likely pursue pass-rush help through free agency and the draft, as the Saints look to drastically improve their defense.

Falcons lock up Moore

The Atlanta Falcons locked up safety William Moore, as the two sides agreed to a five-year contract on Saturday.

More: The Falcoholic

Atlanta made a handful of roster cuts leading up to free agency, releasing veterans Michael Turner, Dunta Robinson and John Abraham. The moves afforded the Falcons extra cap space -- cap space used to lock up players like Moore long-term.

Bills re-sign McKelvin

The Buffalo Bills agreed to a four-year deal with Leodis McKelvin on Saturday, preventing the explosive kick returner from hitting the free agent market for another four years. McKelvin will earn $20 million over the life of the contract.

More: Buffalo Rumblings

Terms of the deal were surprising, as McKelvin is being paid as if he'll be a major defensive contributor for Buffalo in addition to his return duties. McKelvin isn't likely to be penciled in as a starter for Buffalo, but could see significant time as a nickel back -- and could end up starting if he has a better training camp than Aaron Williams.

Minor moves and rumors

The Arizona Cardinals are expected to release wide receiver Early Doucet, who caught just 28 passes for 207 yards in 2012. Doucet should garner interest on the free agent market as a fourth wide receiver.

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill is reportedly drawing plenty of interest from teams around the league. It's unlikely that the Lions will retain Hill, as Detroit looks to address other areas of concern on its roster.

Dolphins free agent cornerback Sean Smith has drawn interest from three to five teams already, and because of his age, Smith could command a nice payday when free agency opens next week. Smith will turn 26 this summer, and should enter the prime of his career in the coming years.

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