DE Peterson re-signs with Broncos

Free-agent defensive end Kenny Peterson has reached agreement on a three-year deal with the Denver Broncos.

Peterson played in 16 games for the Broncos last season, recording 24 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

Bengals sign WR Coles to four-year contract

Two days after losing T.J. Houshmandzadeh to the Seahawks, the Bengals found his replacement. Cincinnati signed free-agent WR Laveranues Coles to a four-year, $28 million contract.

Giants continue to add to defense, sign S Brown

The longer free agency lasts, the more defensive the Giants get.

After adding three potential defensive starters over the weekend, the Giants reached agreement Wednesday on a one-year contract with free-agent safety C.C. Brown. He joins defensive end Chris Canty, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard and linebacker Michael Boley as New York upgrades its defense.

Lewis expected to re-sign with Ravens soon

Now that Kurt Warner‘s deal is done in Arizona, the next big deal is on deck.

By the end of the week, and quite possibly in the next 24 hours, the Ravens and free-agent linebacker Ray Lewis are expected to finalize a deal as important to Baltimore as Warner’s is to Arizona, league sources said Wednesday.

The deal also is expected to be for less than the three years and $24 million that some have incorrectly speculated the deal will be. A deal that lucrative was not on the table from the Ravens. But it’s not the numbers that matter to the Ravens and their fans.

Saints re-sign WR Henderson

The Saints re-signed free-agent wide receiver Devery Henderson, who had 32 receptions for 793 yards and three touchdowns in 2008. Henderson’s deal is for four years, $12 million, with $6 million guaranteed.

Warner returns to Cardinals

The Cardinals and quarterback Kurt Warner have agreed in principle to a two-year deal worth $23 million, including $19 million guaranteed.

DE Evans to decide between 49ers, Redskins by Friday

Defensive end Demetric Evans is in negotiations with the 49ers and Redskins. They have discussed a two-year deal in the $4 million range.

Evans, who recorded 33 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 11 starts with the Redskins last season, will make his decision by Friday.

James pleading to be released from Cardinals

Edgerrin James spoke with Cardinals GM Rod Graves and pleaded to be cut. James knows that he will eventually be cut and he is missing out on other teams right now.

Bills sign CB Florence

Former Chargers and Jaguars cornerback Drayton Florence has agreed to terms with the Bills on a two-year deal worth $6.6 million. The deal can grow to $7.3 million with incentives. Florence had been rumored to be returning to San Diego.

McDaniels: Cutler will not be traded by Broncos

Since word broke Saturday that Jay Cutler‘s name had come up in trade discussions, rumors have run rampant.

There has been speculation that Cutler could be traded to the Vikings, the Browns, the Buccaneers, the Jets — basically any team with a need at quarterback. But new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels spoke out Tuesday afternoon and attempted to squash any and all existing speculation.

“Let me be as clear as I can about this,” McDaniels said when reached at his office Tuesday afternoon. “We are not trading Jay Cutler — period.”

Let those words ring around the NFL, the Internet, the blogosphere, sports-talk radio. No matter how much trade talk there is regarding Cutler, it is not originating from Denver and, to the disappointment of many, it is not happening. In fact, further proof that Denver fully intends to keep Cutler is evidenced in its action. McDaniels and Cutler are scheduled to meet next week.

Former Eagles TE Smith, Bucs LB June have options

Free agency’s initial wave is over. But the second wave also has some compelling players.

Free-agent tight end L.J. Smith, who spent six seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, is scheduled to arrive in Detroit tonight for a visit with the Lions on Wednesday. The Lions have a need at tight end, and Smith could be an ideal fit in Detroit.

But two other teams also need a tight end, and Smith would be a logical fit for either.

Since the Atlanta Falcons lost Alge Crumpler last year, they have been in search of a starting-caliber tight end. The need for one has become even more important because Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan likes to throw to a tight end. Perhaps Smith could be an answer.

The Cleveland Browns also might be in the market for a tight end, so Smith could have some options.

Meanwhile, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Cato June is scheduled to arrive in Buffalo tonight for a visit with the Bills on Wednesday. June was released by Tampa Bay last week.

Warner expected to stay in Arizona

By the end of the week, QB Kurt Warner likely will return to Arizona, according to league sources. It’s where he wants to be, where the Cardinals want him to be, and the San Francisco 49ers aren’t expected to make the type of push for him that some believed they would.

The 49ers knew it was, at best, a longshot to pry away Warner. But they entertained a visit with him Monday anyway before Warner returned to Arizona to think about his decision.

But after Warner thinks about it, he will realize that the 49ers are expected to go in a different direction, and he is expected to return to the same direction.

Another Raven heads north: Leonhard signs with Jets

Continuing to import help from Baltimore, the Jets reached agreement with Ravens free-agent safety Jim Leonhard on a three-year deal.

For a while Tuesday, there was a hangup in talks. Initially, it looked as if Leonhard would be headed to the Jets, then the Broncos stepped in. Leonhard ultimately went back to the Jets. He now joins Rex Ryan and Bart Scott with the New York Ravens.

Two Seahawks free agents will visit Raiders

The Seattle-to-Oakland flight is busy with Seahawks going to visit the Raiders. Not to mention connectors from Buffalo and Denver.

Oakland, which has had a busy offseason, is hosting visits today with two of Seattle’s free agents — quarterback Charlie Frye and offensive tackle Ray Willis — along with free-agent center Melvin Fowler. Frye could serve as a backup for JaMarcus Russell, and Willis has drawn interest around the league from tackle-needy teams.

Tack on one more visitor today. After losing center Jake Grove to the Dolphins, the Raiders arranged a visit with Fowler, who spent the past three seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

But the Raiders did make one signing today.

Changes in Denver led to an opportunity for offensive tackle Erik Pears in Oakland. Once Denver did not place a contract tender on Pears, he became an unrestricted free agent. And once Pears became an unrestricted free agent, he jumped at the chance to sign with the Raiders, who will give him a chance to compete for playing time at offensive tackle. After becoming an undrafted free agent, Pears was with Denver from 2005 to 2008.

Oakland made a splash before free agency, re-signing punter Shane Lechler and cornerback Nnamdi Asamugha. Now it is making another push in the opening week of free agency.

Miami continues to invest in OL, signs Grove

No person believes more in the importance of building a strong offensive line than Bill Parcells. And no team has invested more money in its offensive line than the Miami Dolphins.

Miami did it again Tuesday, signing former Raiders center Jake Grove to a five-year, $29.5 million deal that includes $14 million in guaranteed money.

Now, in less than 12 months, the Dolphins have given a $57 million contract to offensive tackle Jake Long, a $42 million contract to Vernon Carey, a $25 million contract to Justin Smiley and a $29.5 million contract to Grove. Along with second-year guard Donald Thomas, whom Miami seems to be high on, this well could be the Dolphins’ starting offensive line this season.

Signing Grove gives Miami the center it believes it needs to combat the towering and imposing defensive tackles in the AFC East such as New England’s Vince Wilfork, New York’s Kris Jenkins and Buffalo’s Marcus Stroud.

It also gives Parcells and Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland the type of offensive line they helped construct in Dallas, where running backs had holes to run through and Tony Romo had time to throw.

In one year, Miami has built one of football’s top young lines. It was not particularly cheap, but it will be highly effective.

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