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NFL news roundup: Cardinals sign John Abraham, Falcons give Matt Ryan huge contract

John Abraham finally came off the free agent market and Matt Ryan joined the ranks of the league's highest paid players. Those stories, plus updates on Jairus Byrd, A.J. Green and the naming rights to Cowboys Stadium.

Grant Halverson

After nearly four months on the free agent market, defensive end John Abraham was finally snatched up Thursday. He agreed to a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals that may not match his initial contract demands, but will ensure that the 35-year-old will be playing football beyond the 2012 season.

Abraham notched 10 sacks for the Atlanta Falcons last season to prove that he still has the ability to be productive in the NFL. In Arizona, he will likely be used as a situational pass rusher at outside linebacker, according to the Cardinals blog Revenge Of The Birds.

More from a busy Thursday:

Matt Ryan gets big new contract

Ryan signed a five-year extension with the Falcons that is worth a reported $103.75 million, according to's Ian Rapoport. Ryan will also earn $59 million guaranteed, which is the second-largest guaranteed figure in the league behind only Drew Brees' $60.5 million.

Ryan still had one year left on his rookie contract before becoming a free agent, but the Falcons organization opted to be proactive rather than risk letting their franchise quarterback test the open market. During five seasons in the NFL, Ryan has led the Falcons to a 56-22 record and garnered two Pro Bowl invitations.

Jairus Byrd won't report to training camp on time

The Buffalo Bills placed the team's franchise tag on Byrd earlier this offseason, and the young safety is apparently still unhappy. He has yet to sign the franchise tender, and as a result Byrd cannot be fined for missed time during training camp.

Unfortunately for Byrd, he doesn't stand to gain much this season by holding out. The deadline for players placed under the franchise tag to sign long-term extensions has passed, so Byrd can only sign the tender or not at this point. He will likely sign the $6.9 million tender before the start of the 2013 regular season, lest he pass up significant chunks of money.

A.J. Green suffers apparent knee injury

Green fell hard on his left knee after going up for a deep ball during practice Thursday, and could miss a significant chunk of training camp as a result. Speaking with Artrell Hawkins, Jr., or FOX Sports radio, Green said that the injury felt similar to the hyperextension he suffered as a rookie that kept him out two weeks during the 2011 season.

The good news for Green is that the injury is not expected to affect his status for the 2013 regular season. Luckily, he was able to walk off the practice field without a noticeable limp.

Percy Harvin starts training camp on PUP list

Harvin will open training camp on the physically unable to perform list for the Seattle Seahawks due to what may or may not be a partially torn labrum, according to's Ian Rapoport. Harvin is seeking a second opinion that will hopefully clear the matter.

Harvin was one of the Seahawks' most prized acquisitions this offseason. The Minnesota Vikings received three draft picks in a trade for the wideout, including this year's No. 25 overall pick, while the Seahawks received one of the league's most electric players. That said, Harvin has had his fair share of injuries throughout his career, and missed seven regular season games last season due to an ankle injury.

Cowboys Stadium to be renamed 'AT&T Stadium'

One of the NFL's few remaining unsponsored stadiums will soon be succumbing to the almighty dollar. The Dallas Cowboys and AT&T have agreed on a deal to change the name of Cowboys Stadium to "AT&T Stadium." Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones announced the deal Thursday.

AT&T now owns naming rights in three American professional sports leagues. MLB's San Francisco Giants currently play at AT&T Park, and the NBA's San Antonio Spurs play at the AT&T Center. The new deal will reportedly bring in $17-$19 million per season for the Cowboys.

Bears DT Sedrick Ellis to retire

The Chicago Bears signed Sedrick Ellis to shore up their defensive line on June 11. A month and a half into his contract, Ellis has apparently decided to hang up his cleats, however. Ellis was set to enter the Bears' defensive line rotation on a one-year, $1 million contract.

The Bears were able to act fast off the surprise announcement, signing former Falcons/Colts/Bengals defensive end Jamaal Anderson to a one-year contract later in the day. Anderson appeared in just two games for the Bengals last season after suffering a torn quadriceps.

Bengals to give Green-Ellis, Bernard 50-50 carries split

Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden hinted that the BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard will be splitting carries at running back this season, frustrating fantasy players who were hoping one player would emerge as a lead ball carrier.

Green-Ellis handled the team's rushing load last season, but wasn't particularly effective at 3.9 yards per carry. Bernard was selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft to bolster the running game and should make an immediate impact, though perhaps not as much as some had hoped.

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