The Lions may not have gotten the production they wanted out of tight end Brandon Pettigrew last season, but they weren't about to let him slip out of their grasp this offseason. Detroit has locked down their former first-round pick with a four-year, $16 million deal that includes $8 million guaranteed, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Pettigrew reportedly drew serious interest from at least three other teams before deciding to return to Detroit.
Last season marked the first time since his rookie year that Pettigrew had fewer than 50 receptions and 500 yards, but as a versatile talent, was still able to contribute as a blocker. The Lions seem confident in his ability to return to his 2010, 2011 form, when he posted back-to-back 70-reception, 700-yard seasons.
B.J. Raji signs one-year deal with Packers
The Packers were reportedly ready to move on without B.J. Raji, assuming his price tag would be too high. But the team got unexpected news when the big defensive tackle opted to return on a one-year, $4 million "prove-it" deal, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. Silverstein reports that the primary selling point was promising Raji a spot at nose tackle, where he previously excelled.
Cowboys schedule visit with Henry Melton, interested in Julius Peppers
With Demarcus Ware heading to Denver and Jason Hatcher on his way to Washington, the Cowboys are looking into a pair of Bears to fill the void. Dallas has scheduled a visit with defensive tackle Henry Melton and are reportedly interested in defensive end Julius Peppers, according to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas.
NFL Free Agency
NFL Free Agency
Melton made the Pro Bowl in 2012 before missing most of last season with an ACL tear, has also drawn interest from the Seahawks (see below).
The Bears jettisoned Peppers earlier this week to avoid a massive $18.13 salary cap hit. That was largely financial, as Peppers tallied a solid seven sacks last season. He is 34-years-old, but so far hasn't had any durability issues with his advancing age -- he hasn't missed a game since 2007.
Current Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli coached both Peppers and Melton during his time in Chicago, which should help Dallas's chances.
Ravens re-sign Daryl Smith
Replacing Ray Lewis in Baltimore was never going to be an easy task, but Daryl Smith did an impressive job of doing so last season. Impressive enough to land a four-year, $16.1 million deal to stay with Ravens, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
After spending his first nine years in the league with the Jaguars, Smith put up a career season with the Ravens in 2013, posting personal bests in tackles, sacks and interceptions. He isn't going to be near the bargain he was after signing a one-year deal a year ago, but he's proved he's worth the money.
Smith joins Dennis Pitta and Eugene Monroe as Ravens re-signees, meaning the team has successfully locked down it's top three in-house free agents. They can now turn their attention to guys outside of the organization. That includes the recently-released Steve Smith, who's rumored to be leaning their way.
Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport
Titans grab Wesley Woodyard, meeting with Michael Oher
Linebacker was one of the biggest needs in Tennessee entering free agency, and the Titans addressed it on Friday by signing former Bronco Wesley Woodyard to a four-year, $16 million contract, according to Rapoport. They're also meeting with former Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher, per Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com.
NFL Free Agency
NFL Free Agency
An athletic outside backer, Woodyard spent his first six NFL seasons in Denver. His best year came in 2012, when he posted 5½ sacks and 117 tackles. He visited the Patriots on Wednesday.
Oher, the star of The Blind Side, was actually moved to right tackle last season by the Ravens after struggling at left tackle. That move didn't spark a turnaround -- he rated as the 57th best tackle by Pro Football Focus, allowing 10 sacks and struggling in the ground game.
The Titans cut ties with veteran right tackle David Steward on Thursday.
Brandon Browner still unsigned, visiting Redskins, Saints
UPDATE 10:13 a.m. ET: According to Ian Rapoport, Browner cancelled his visit with the Redskins and never arrived in Washington. Josina Anderson reports he is still in the Boston area. This would appear to be good news for Patriots fans.
No, Brandon Browner is not a Patriot. At least not yet. A day after conflicting reports led to mass confusion on whether or not he'd joined Darrelle Revis in New England, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports he's traveling to Washington and New Orleans for Friday visits.
Both Schefter and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted out Thursday that the former Seahawks cornerback had inked a two-year deal with the Pats. That was followed quickly by a rescinding tweet from Schefter, who quoted Browner's agent as saying they were in negotiations with "four teams and we do not have a deal. We aren't even close."
While Browner meets with the Redskins and Saints, his agent is expected to be in contract talks with the Patriots and Raiders. A Patriots source told Schefter on Thursday that "Browner wants to be in New England, I think we are close, but it's a tough deal to do because of suspension, etc."
That's a reference to the four-game ban Browner will begin the 2014 season with after failing the league's drug policy.
Henry Melton meeting with Seahawks amidst lawsuit
The Seahawks have were able to hold on to Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel, but they're still trying to bolster their defensive front, which lost Chris Clemons and Red Bryant to Jacksonville this week. ESPN's Josina Anderson reports that the team will host former Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton on Friday.
Melton, who played in just three games for Chicago last season before going down with an ACL tear, has already visited the Vikings and is rumored to be a top target of the Cowboys, who need a replacement. He was a Pro Bowler in 2012, but should come at a rather affordable price following the injury.
He may need that money too. WFAA in Dallas reported on Wednesday that Melton is being sued by a bar owner over a bizarre incident related to his arrest last December. Donald Payne is seeking over $1 million in compensation, alleging the defensive tackle bit him during a skirmish. According to the allegation, Melton was asked to leave the bar after calling the staff "poor white trash," at which point he became unruly and had to be physically hauled out.
Richard Marshall sticking with Chargers
Richard Marshall played well when thrust into the starting cornerback role late last season in San Diego, and the Chargers have rewarded the eight-year NFL vet with a one-year contract, according to Rapoport.
When Derek Cox was yanked from the starting job last season, the 29-year-old Marshall was a quality fill-in over the last five games of the regular season and the two playoff games. He played in 603 defensive snaps, recording 71 tackles, six pass deflections and a forced fumble.
While San Diego will still be looking for a primary starter, Marshall provides veteran leadership and quality depth in the secondary.