Roundup: Brackett, Colts near deal

The Colts are still trying to work out a deal with starting linebacker Gary Brackett .

A source told ESPN.com's John Clayton that Brackett informed the team he wouldn't make any trips and planned to work into Friday morning to try to complete a multi-year contract.

Negotiations, which have been ongoing for the past several weeks, took a positive term for the team Thursday night, according to the source, and they hope to have a deal completed by mid afternoon Friday.

The Colts won't offer cornerback Tim Jennings and safety Aaron Francisco new contracts, allowing them to become free agents.

Agents for both players confirmed the decisions Thursday to The Associated Press.

The Colts also did not tender Marlin Jackson, so the cornerback is free to sign with any team, a team source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Indianapolis gave Melvin Bullitt a second-round tender, agent Leonard Roth confirmed in an e-mail to The Associated Press. The Colts did not have any comment.

Jennings and Francisco on Friday will become unrestricted free agents who can sign with any team and the Colts will not be compensated for the loss. Jennings played primarily in nickel packages last season and was ninth on the team with 51 tackles.

Francisco played primarily on special teams after being claimed off of waivers from Arizona in September.

Meanwhile, versatile defensive lineman Raheem Brock wrote on his Twitter account that he had played his final game with the Colts.

"It's been real Indy," Brock wrote.

Brock's agent, Kevin Pompey, could not confirm the Colts had made a move with Brock.

-- ESPN.com news services

New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says the club will release starting defensive end Charles Grant.

Loomis also says the club has released reserve offensive lineman Jamar Nesbit and linebacker Mark Simoneau, who has missed the past two seasons with injuries.

Grant, drafted out of Georgia in 2002, was one of New Orleans' two first-round draft choices that year. Loomis says he'll be released on Friday when free agency begins.

Grant is eighth on the Saints' career sack list with 47 and has started 106 games, including all 16 regular season games in 2009.

However, a torn triceps kept him out of the playoffs last season, when the Saints won their first Super Bowl. He also missed part of 2008 with a similar injury.

-- Associated Press


Apparently the switch in positions worked well enough for Bryan Scott to convince the Buffalo Bills to re-sign him Thursday night.

Scott, who switched from safety to linebacker after injuries depleted the Bills linebacker corps, agreed to a two-year deal worth more than $3 million, a source told ESPN.com's John Clayton. He was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent Friday morning.

The Bills tendered contract offers to retain the rights to four players, including linebacker Keith Ellison.

Ellison, who missed the final eight games last season with a quadriceps injury, has been a reliable role player in four seasons with the Bills. He's a contender to start in a revamped 3-4 defense being installed by new coach Chan Gailey.

The Bills on Thursday also tendered offers to safety George Wilson, cornerback Ashton Youboty and tight end Derek Schouman.

Not tendered offers were offensive lineman Richie Incognito, tight end Joe Klopfenstein and third-string quarterback Gibran Hamdan. The three are eligible to become free agents.

-- ESPN.com news services


The Kansas City Chiefs gave linebacker Derrick Johnson a first-round tender, a team source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Johnson made $2.25 million last year, so his tender number will be 110 percent of that amount.

The Chiefs also signed a contract extension with veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel.

No details were released on the deal announced Thursday. Vrabel would have become an unrestricted free agent Friday.

The 13-year veteran started 14 games for the Chiefs in 2009, with 65 tackles and two sacks. He was acquired in 2009 from the New England Patriots, where he won three Super Bowl rings and went to the Pro Bowl in 2007.

-- ESPN.com news services


The Cleveland Browns gave second-round tenders to six restricted free agents, but safety Brodney Pool was not retained.

The Browns gave one-year salaries of $1.75 million for next season to running back Jerome Harrison, linebackers D'Qwell Jackson, Matt Roth and Jason Trusnik, safety Abram Elam and fullback Lawrence Vickers. Those players can sign offer sheets with other teams, but the Browns would have seven days to match the offer or they'll receive a second-round draft pick as compensation.

Pool, a second-round pick in 2005, missed Cleveland's final four games last season after sustaining at least his fourth known concussion.

-- The Associated Press


Cowboys defensive end Stephen Bowen, one of 13 restricted free agents, received a second-round tender offer of $1.759 million on Thursday, the deadline for when qualifying offers are presented.

Bowen, a trusted backup, finished the 2009 season with 33 quarterback pressures, tied for third on the team with starting nose guard Jay Ratliff.

Bowen also had three sacks and 31 tackles.

Also, wide receiver Sam Hurd, who led the team with 19 special teams tackles last year, received a second-round tender of $1.759 million.

-- Calvin Watkins, ESPNDallas.com


The Tennessee Titans have agreed to terms with long snapper Ken Amato and offered tenders to six restricted free agents, including defensive tackle Tony Brown and tight end Bo Scaife.

With free agency beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, linebacker Keith Bulluck, tight end Alge Crumpler, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and center Kevin Mawae are among eight Titans who will be unrestricted and able to sign with any team.

Brown's agent has been talking with the Titans about a new contract, but the Titans tendered Brown a contract at a first-round level to make it pricey for any other team to sign him. They also gave Scaife and linebacker Stephen Tulloch first-round tenders.

-- The Associated Press


The Atlanta Falcons have re-signed cornerback Brian Williams to a one-year contract.

Financial terms of the deal were not released Thursday.

Williams, an eight-year veteran who played from 2006-08 with Jacksonville, joined the Falcons last Sept. 6 and started five games at left cornerback before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

He finished with 23 tackles, one interception and two fumble recoveries.

The Falcons also announced that long snapper Mike Schneck has retired. Schneck spent 11 seasons in the NFL.

-- The Associated Press


The Houston Texans offered tenders to Owen Daniels, DeMeco Ryans and Ryan Moats on Thursday.

Daniels finished the season with 40 catches for 519 yards and five touchdowns before being placed on the injured reserve list after tearing a knee ligament in November.

Ryans registered 123 tackles on the Texans' defense and was named to his second Pro Bowl.

Moats set career highs in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in 2009 and set a Texans record with three rushing touchdowns in Week 8.

The Texans also offered tender to Tim Bulman, Rashad Butler, Bernard Pollard and Chris White.

Pollard joined the team in late September and immediately stepped into a starting role to become a key piece of Houston's improving defense. He had 102 tackles, 1½ sacks and four interceptions to help the Texans to their first winning season.

-- The Associated Press


The Carolina Panthers have cut veteran defensive tackle Damione Lewis, further depleting their line in a move that shaves another $5 million off their rapidly shrinking payroll.

A week after the Panthers decided against paying defensive end Julius Peppers more than $20 million with the franchise tag, they parted ways with another starter on Thursday.

The 32-year-old Lewis had 41 tackles in 16 starts last season as he played with numerous other tackles in Carolina's banged-up line. Lewis had 48 tackles and 3½ sacks in 2008, the first year he replaced Kris Jenkins as a starter.

The move leaves Carolina with no starters from the line that ended last season. Peppers, Tyler Brayton and Hollis Thomas are unrestricted free agents.

-- Associated Press


Cornerback Phillip Buchanon was released by the Detroit Lions, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

In 2009, Buchanon had 43 tackles and sack for the 2-14 Lions.

The Lions made tender offers to seven of their nine restricted free agents shortly before the NFL's free agency period begins.

The Lions offered deals Thursday to defensive end Jason Hunter, defensive backs Daniel Bullocks, Kevin Hobbs and Ko Simpson, and offensive linemen Dylan Gandy, Daniel Loper and Manny Ramirez.

Hunter's $1.76 million tender was the highest, allowing Detroit to match another team's offer or else receive a second-round draft choice. Bullocks, Gandy, Ramirez and Simpson received the second-lowest tender, giving the Lions first-rights refusal and a draft pick in the round in which they were drafted.

Detroit would receive no compensation for Hobbs and Loper if they sign elsewhere.

The Lions did not tender defensive end Copeland Bryan or linebacker Cody Spencer.

-- ESPN.com news services


SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers have re-signed linebacker Matt Wilhelm to a one-year contract, keeping him from becoming an unrestricted free agent Thursday night.

Wilhelm joined the Niners, coming off an 8-8 season, on Oct. 19 after Jeff Ulbrich was placed on season-ending injured reserve because of a concussion.

The 29-year-old Wilhelm was in training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles last year before being released. He spent the 2003-08 seasons with San Diego, which let him go a week before their first full-squad practice of training camp in 2009.

Wilhelm has 258 tackles, six interceptions and two sacks while playing in 82 games with 22 starts during his seven-year NFL career. He was a fourth-round draft pick by the Chargers in 2003.

-- The Associated Press


The Cincinnati Bengals tendered offers to six players, including linebacker Brandon Johnson, giving them the chance to match any offer in free agency.

Johnson started three times last season after Keith Rivers got hurt. The Bengals would get a second-round pick from any team that signs him.

The Bengals tendered draft-level offers to linebackers Abdul Hodge and Rashad Jeanty, cornerback David Jones, guard Evan Mathis and defensive end Frostee Rucker on Thursday. They would get a pick matching the player's original round.

Defensive tackle Shaun Smith and tight ends Daniel Coats, J.P. Foschi and Matt Sherry weren't tendered, allowing them to become free agents.

-- The Associated Press


The Seattle Seahawks have made tenders to five players, including using the exclusive rights tender on linebacker David Hawthorne.

By using that tender on Hawthorne, only the Seahawks can negotiate with him because he has no free agency privileges. Had they not made this tender, he could have talked to other teams as a restricted free agent.

Seattle made original draft choice tenders on receiver Ben Obomanu, offensive linemen Rob Sims and Chris Spencer and defensive end Darryl Tapp. The four are free agents, but the Seahawks have right of first refusal to either match any offer sheet the four sign or receive a draft pick in the round the player was selected as compensation.

Spencer was a first-round pick, Tapp was taken in the second round, Sims the fourth and Obomanu the seventh. The tenders are all one-year offers.

Seattle did not tender offensive lineman Brandon Frye or linebacker Lance Laury, making them unrestricted free agents.

-- The Associated Press


The New York Giants have tendered one-year contracts to nine restricted free agents on the eve of free agency.

The Giants announced on Thursday that defensive linemen Barry Cofield and Dave Tollefson, offensive linemen Guy Whimper and Kevin Boothe, receivers Domenik Hixon, Sinorice Moss and Derek Hagan, linebacker Gerris Wilkinson and safety C.C. Brown got the offers.

Cofield, Hixon and Tollefson received second-round tenders. Moss, Wilkinson, Hagan, Whimper and Boothe received an original round tender, and Brown received a right of first refusal tender.

If another club signs any of these players to an offer sheet, the Giants will have seven days to match that offer. If the Giants choose not to match, they will receive the appropriate compensation from the respective club.

The Giants also tendered one-year contracts to three exclusive rights players: running back D.J. Ware, tight end Scott Chandler and defensive back D.J. Johnson.

-- The Associated Press


The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed defensive lineman Atiyyah Ellison and guard Kynan Forney to contracts.

Ellison was scheduled to become a restricted free agent Friday, and Forney was set to become an unrestricted free agent. Details of their contracts were not released.

Ellison, a third-year player the Jaguars signed off San Francisco's practice squad in 2008, played in 15 games last season before injuring his knee at New England. He finished with 28 tackles and a sack.

Forney, entering his 10th season and second in Jacksonville, played in three games last year. He also has played for San Diego and Atlanta.

-- The Associated Press

The Carolina Panthers released defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu, according to an NFL source.

Kemoeatu tore his tore Achilles' tendon in August during training camp.

-- Adam Schefter, ESPN