NFL free agency roundup: Karlos Dansby, Donte Whitner change teams

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The free agent frenzy is off and running with players shuffling around the NFL in rapid style.

NFL teams wasted little time throwing money around at the start of free agency. Deals came fast and furious beginning as soon as the new league year began at 4 p.m. ET. A number of deals were already in place, leading to a flurry of contract announcements.

Here is a look at some of the happenings. For a complete list of who signed where, head over to our free agent tracker.

Browns sign Karlos Dansby to four-year deal

The Cleveland Browns made an early splash Tuesday, inking linebacker Karlos Dansby to a four-year contract reportedly worth $24 million. The deal includes $14 million guaranteed. Cleveland brought him in to replace D'Qwell Jackson, but it's a rather hefty sum for a 32-year-old linebacker. Dansby is still a quality playmaker, though, with experience in the 3-4 defense. He played with the Arizona Cardinals last season, recording 122 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

Donte Whitner headed to Cleveland

The Browns continued their defensive shopping spree on Tuesday, signing safety Donte Whitner away from the San Francisco 49ers. It's reportedly a four-year deal worth an average of $7 million per year, per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Whitner spent the past three seasons with the 49ers, recording 73 tackles and two interceptions in 2013.

Vontae Davis re-signs with Colts on four-year deal

Although he was rumored to have a number of other suitors, the Colts were able to retain Vontae Davis with a four-year deal worth $39 million, including $20 million guaranteed, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The deal is a crucial one for the Colts, as Davis established himself as a No. 1 corner. Indianapolis spent heavily on defense this offseason, with Davis possibly the key piece to it all.

49ers sign Antoine Bethea

The 49ers had a hole at safety with Whitner heading to Cleveland, but they were able to fill it quickly by signing former Colt Antoine Bethea. The sides agreed to a four-year deal. Early estimates had the deal in the range of $26 million. If that proves to be true, the deal will end up being similar to the deal Whitner signed in Cleveland. Bethea is slightly younger than Whitner, however.

Branden Albert to Miami

After a long courtship, Albert is finally a Miami Dolphin. The move nearly happened a year ago when Albert hit the market with the franchise tag attached. Miami and Kansas City were unable to work out a trade, so Albert remained a Chief. Now with no franchise restriction, Albert is a Dolphin. The move is significant for Miami, as its offensive line had major issues in 2013. Albert will step in at left tackle and be a big part of shoring up the protection.

Raiders splurge for Roger Saffold

Oakland lost Jared Veldheer to Arizona, but filled that void by signing Roger Saffold to a lucrative five-year deal. The contract is worth a reported $45.5 million, including $21 million guaranteed. Saffold is a versatile player, playing multiple spots along the offensive line. He moved to right tackle last season, but has experience playing on the left side and could start there for Oakland. Some will question why Oakland didn't simply retain Veldheer on a similar deal, but the two sides moved on and the Raiders did the best they could to avoid being stranded without a replacement.

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Lions, Joique Bell agree to three-year extension

The Detroit Lions agreed to a three-year contract with Joique Bell before the free agency period started. Bell was set to become a restricted free agent and had already received a second-round tender, so this deal adds two more years to the original offer. Bell had a breakout year in 2013, recording 1,197 total yards and eight touchdowns while splitting time with Reggie Bush.

Falcons re-sign DT Jonathan Babineaux to three-year deal

The Atlanta Falcons didn't let Jonathan Babineaux reach free agency, locking him up to a three-year deal hours before the new league year began. Babineuax will stay in Atlanta, where he has spent all nine years of his career. He's no longer a full-time player, but Babineaux remains a valuable rotational piece. The Falcons still have needs to address on the defensive line, but they retained their top two tackles in Babineaux and Corey Peters.

Phil Dawson re-signs with Niners

Kicker Phil Dawson confirmed on his Twitter account that he will stay with the San Francisco 49ers. Still one of the top kickers in the league at age 39, Dawson made 32 of his 36 field goal attempts last season, including 4-of-6 from beyond 50 yards. Dawson spent the first 14 years of his career with the Cleveland Browns before signing with the 49ers in 2013.

Texans release Owen Daniels

Tight end Owen Daniels is hitting the open market after being released by the Houston Texans. Daniels has spent his entire eight-year career with the Texans. The move saves Houston $6.25 million against the cap and gives Garrett Graham an opportunity to win the starting job. Daniels broke his leg during the latter half of the season but should be ready in plenty of time for spring workouts. He is already being linked to the Baltimore Ravens, where former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is the new offensive coordinator.

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