The Patriots receiving corps took several hits this week with wide receivers David Givens and Andre Davis and tight end Christian Fauria signing with other teams.
Givens is the most recent to jump ship, signing a 5-year, $24-millon contract with the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday. Givens, who caught 59 passes for 738 yards and 2 touchdowns last season, is expected to be Tennessee's number one receiver, ahead of Drew Bennett and Tyrone Calico. Givens' deal also includes an $8 million signing bonus, according to his agent.
Givens has 158 career receptions for 2,214 yards and 12 touchdowns in four years with New England. He is New England's career leader in postseason touchdown receptions with seven.
Davis, who played 9 regular season and 2 playoff games last season with the Patriots, signed with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Terms were not disclosed, and it remains unclear where Davis will fit into the Bills receiving lineup. Actually, quite a bit is unclear in Buffalo this offseason.
Fauria is one innumerable players signed by the Washington Redskins. Fauria, who has been with New England for four years, has taken on a decreased role since his visibility in during the Pats first Super Bowl run. Fauria was a solid third tight end behind the developing Ben Watson and Daniel Graham. While playing in only five games last season, Fauria dressed for every game during his Patriots tenure.
McGinest Visits Crennel in Cleveland
Free agent linebacker Willie McGinest was in Cleveland later Tuesday where he could reunite with former Patriots defensive coordinator and current Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel, and former Patriot teammate, defensive lineman Ted Washington, who signed with the Browns earlier Tuesday.
McGinest has spend his entire pro career in New England. Under his recent contract, he would count more than $7 million against the Patriots salary cap. He has 78 career sacks, including 6 last season. He holds the career postseason sack record with 16. McGinest is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and has played in four Super Bowls, all with New England, the most recent three of them wins.
Coming to Terms with Free Agency
There's a good Q & A about free agency and the various terms (franchise and transition players, etc.) on Patriots.com.
Brees Headlines Free Agency Signings
Tuesday's big signing was quarterback Drew Brees by the New Orleans Saints. Brees signed a 6-year deal worth a total of $60 million, including a $10 million signing bonus and a $12 million option in the second year.
This move leaves Philip Rivers as San Diego's number one quarterback, and also eliminates Matt Lineart as the No. 2 pick in the draft, which New Orleans holds. It also throws into question the future of current Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks.
The big news Sunday was the signing of Edgerrin James by the Arizona Cardinals to a 4-year, $30 million deal. According to ESPN.com, the base salaries in the contract are $3.25 million (for 2006), $5.25 million (2007), $5 million (2008) and $5 million (2009). James received an initial signing bonus of $7 million expects a $4.5 million roster bonus on the seventh day of the 2006 league year, essentially the end of this week.
Former New York Jets center Kevin Mawae signed with Tennessee.
Terrell Owens was released by Philadelphia on Tuesday. Dallas released Keyshawn Johnson.
Culpepper Traded to Miami
Three-time Pro Bowl selection quarterback Dante Culpepper was traded by the Minnesota Vikings to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round draft pick. Culpepper is coming off a nightmare season during which he tore three ligaments in his knee in a game against Carolina. That was among several unfortunate and bizarre stories to emanate from Minnesota in 2005.