NFL news roundup: Rookie signings, retirements and more


The NFL has been slow, but as OTAs are beginning we're getting our first looks at the teams that will be taking the field when the season rolls around.

As teams continue to gear up for organized team activities, they're focused on signing their draft picks as well as picking up free agents and undrafted free agents that can help fill out the offseason rosters. There also have been a few players that have decided to call it quits, though, as well as others that have been injured.

Here's what you may have missed on Wednesday.

Several teams reached agreements with at least one of their draft picks. The Chiefs signed running back Braden Wilson. The Vikings signed guard Travis Bond, guard Jeff Baca and punter Jeff Locke. The Buccaneers signed defensive tackle Akeem Spence. The Bills signed linebacker Kiko Alonso. The Redskins signed running back Chris Thompson. Rookie minicamps have given teams their first real up close and personal look at the players they've drafted and many more will be signed soon.

Negotiations between the Bears and defensive lineman Henry Melton have gone slow. However, the two sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term agreement. If they don't, Melton, who has signed his franchise tender, will play 2013 and become an unrestricted free agent again when the 2014 league year begins.

Safety Bernard Pollard won't visit the White House with the rest of the Super Bowl winning 2012 Ravens because he is upset about something that isn't quite clear. From Pollard:

"It's not my teammates. It's not my teammates at all. I would celebrate with them any time, any day of the week I would celebrate with them. But at the end of the day, I know what happened, I know what took place. I'm sorry, I just don't want to be in the room with certain people."

Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson is sidelined with a strained back. He's working on getting back on the field, but he hasn't gotten a date from team doctors when that will be. He is impressed, though, with what he's seen so far from rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel, who was selected in the first round of the draft by Buffalo.

More: Bills site Buffalo Rumblings

Jets quarterback David Garrard has decided to call it quits, announcing his retirement, according to reports. Garrard was signed by the Jets this offseason in hopes that he would compete for the starting quarterback job with Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith. However, Garrard is reportedly having knee issues and doesn't feel like he can play anymore because of swelling following practices.

Former Browns wide receiver and return specialist Joshua Cribbs has been signed by the Oakland Raiders. Cribbs visited several teams this offseason, but many were worried about his knee injury. In his time in Cleveland, Cribbs has been a much more productive kick and punt returner, scoring 11 touchdowns on returns, than a receiver. He has caught only seven touchdown passes.

More: Raiders blog Silver and Black Pride

The Ravens signed former Kansas Jayhawks quarterback Dayne Crist to a contract. Nobody will be taking Joe Flacco's starting job away, but Crist could compete for a backup spot. He would have to beat out Tyrod Taylor and Caleb Hanie for the job, though.

New Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace is confident in quarterback Ryan Tannehill's abilities. Wallace, signed as a free agent after spending time as Ben Roethlisberger's top target in Pittsburgh, said that Tannehill may have a bigger arm than Roethlisberger and that he can soon be considered one of the great quarterbacks.

Rolando McClain announced his retirement from the NFL, which ended a troubled professional football career at just 23 years old. McClain signed with the Ravens after being labeled a bust with the Raiders, but he was arrested only 10 days after signing with his new team. McClain, a former No. 8 overall pick, finished his career with 244 tackles, 6.5 sacks and one interception.

From Baltimore Beatdown:

The Ravens were hoping his Alabama roots and ties to Newsome would resurrect his NFL career after being the 8th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

This leaves the Ravens with the probability of starting veteran Jameel McClain along with rookie Arthur Brown as the team's inside linebackers.

Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne are splitting first round reps at the Jaguars team minicamp. Gabbert, the team's first-round pick in 2011, is likely the team's first choice, but he's not going to be given the job without having to compete for it. Gabbert struggled in 2012 and Henne could push him to improve or take his starting job.

Neither the Vikings nor the Broncos are interested in free agent linebacker Brian Urlacher, who became a household name while with the Bears for the last several years. Urlacher believes he still has a few years left in the tank, but both the Broncos and the Vikings, who were considered the most likely teams to sign the older veteran aren't interested.

The Carolina Panthers restructured the contract of running back DeAngelo Williams. He was entering the third season of a five-year deal worth $43 million and had an $8.2 million cap number for the upcoming season. The restructured contract will save the Panthers $3.2 million in cap space this year.

From Cat Scratch Reader:

Rather than being a June 1 cut designation, it allows DeAngelo to remain with the team. He is taking a true pay cut in the cash he's receiving, but overall it guarantees he'll make $17 million over the next three years, rather than likely be cut and earn $9.6 million with no guarantee another team would be interested. That's why he was willing to work with Dave Gettleman.

The Green Bay Packers want Brett Favre "back in the family." Favre has been away from the media spotlight since his final retirement from the NFL, but the Packers want to bring him back. It's just unclear right now what role they want Favre to fill for the team.

Free agent pass rusher Dwight Freeney is set to visit the San Diego Chargers in the wake of Melvin Ingram's ACL injury. Freeney is the best remaining pass rusher on the free agency market and could help replace Ingram, the team's first-round pick in 2012, for a short period of time.

More: Chargers blog Bolts from the Blue

More from SB Nation:

QB situations for all 32 teams

The rise of "Generation Jaguar"

Uffsides: Chip Kelly's war on tacos

Who is Doug Whaley?

Brian Urlacher "leaning toward" Vikings?

Why does the NFL make for such bad media?

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