April 10, 2003
Thompson lands in Seattle
The Seahawks finally gave tackle Michael Thompson a home by trading a conditional sixth-round choice in 2004 to the Atlanta Falcons after a trade with the Dolphins fell apart last week.

Thompson failed a Dolphins physical last week after they had worked out a deal to send him to Miami and give him a chance to compete for the starting left tackle job. When Thompson was coming out of college, the Dolphins doctors had concerns about a knee and vetoed a trade when they gave him a medical checkup.

The Seahawks put him on a plane and had no problem with the knee.

Thompson, a restricted free agent with a $605,000 salary, will cost the Seahawks a sixth-round choice if he plays 30 percent of the downs next season.

April 8, 2003
Holmes agrees to three-year deal with Lions
At Steve Mariucci's first minicamp a week ago, he struggled to fill out his linebacker rotations. Now, he doesn't have as much trouble.

Former Browns middle linebacker Earl Holmes agreed to a three-year contract with the Lions to start at middle linebacker. After the minicamp, the Lions signed middle linebacker Wali Rainer. With two middle linebackers on the roster, Mariucci won't have to permanently move Barrett Green from the outside to the middle.

Green, who weighs in the 230 range, had to play middle linebacker at the minicamp.

Holmes will make $1.75 million this season, roughly $250,000 more than the Seahawks were offering. He was considered the best middle linebacker still available.

Two years ago, Holmes could have been a $4 million a year linebacker with the Steelers. He rejected a contract extension offers and ended up going to the Browns in free agency.

The Browns cut him because of salary cap problems along with the rest of the starting linebacking core.

April 8, 2003
Seahawks still search for kicker
The Seahawks worked out three kickers Tuesday but didn't sign one. They are looking for a replacement for Rian Lindell, who left for Buffalo after signing an offer sheet. Neil Rackers of the Bengals, veteran Mike Husted and young John Markham, a former Giants draft choice, worked out at the Seahawks' facility.

More kickers may come in over the next week for workouts. If the Seahawks can't satisfy their place-kicking needs in free agency, they may be forced to draft one.

April 8, 2003
Bills, Gary exchange offers
The Bills began exchanging offers with former Broncos halfback Orlandis Gary, but he's waiting to see if he gets an offer from the Lions. Gary also received a call from the Chiefs, who decided not to re-sign Mike Cloud as a backup after they found out he will be suspended for the first four games after he tested positive for a steroid that was found in a supplement.

April 8, 2003
Chiefs reach agreement with Willie Jones
The Chiefs reached an agreement to re-sign offensive tackle Willie Jones. He received a one-year, $475,000 deal that included a $25,000 signing bonus. Jones was an unrestricted free agent, whose huge, athletic body (6-6, 358 pounds) keeps him on rosters as a prospect. He's been with the Rams, Dolphins and Chiefs during his career.

April 4, 2003
Giants add Hollis to bolster special teams
The Giants continued their special teams upgrade Friday by signing Bills place kicker Mike Hollis to a five-year contracts worth a little more than $4 million.

Hollis visited the Seahawks earlier this week before flying to the Giants, who have signed Seahawks punter Jeff Feagles, Redskins kick returner Brian Mitchell and deep snapper Ryan Kuehl.

The Giants figured that after going to the playoffs, it was better to invest in veteran players with proven track records.

April 4, 2003
Panthers discuss trade for Rams' Conwell
The Panthers and Rams tight end Ernie Conwell exchanged preliminary offers Friday and plan to work on a possible deal early next week. Conwell visited the Panthers Thursday and is under consideration to be the replacement for Wesley Walls, who was cut in February. The Rams are also trying to re-sign Conwell.

April 4, 2003
Knight to visit Steelers early next week
Former Saints safety Sammy Knight is finally hitting the road. He visits the Steelers early next week and is trying to schedule a visit to the Dolphins. Despite being one of the league leaders in big plays (interceptions, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries) over the past few years in New Orleans, Knight hasn't had many calls in the early phase of free agency.

April 4, 2003
Falcons' Thompson interested in Seahawks
The Seahawks had a visit from Falcons offensive tackle Michael Thompson, who failed a physical from the Dolphins, canceling a trade that was agreed to Wednesday. Thompson is a restricted free agent who signed a one-year, $605,000 contract. The Dolphins agreed to give the Falcons a seventh-round 2004 choice that would improve to a fifth-rounder if he played 50 percent of the downs. Dolphins doctors had concerns about Thompson's knee. According to his agent, Harold Lewis, Thompson passed a Seahawks physical.

April 4, 2003
Former Browns LB Rudd considering Lions, Bucs
Former Browns linebacker Dwayne Rudd is considering offers from the Lions and Bucs over the weekend. Rudd was released when Browns coach Butch Davis went to a younger, less costly linebacking corps.

April 2, 2003
Mack joins Texans with chance to start at RB
The Texans finally addressed their backfield by reaching a one-year deal with Jaguars backup Stacey Mack. Terms of his deal weren't available, but he was supposed to receive a small signing bonus and a base salary around the NFL minimum of $530,000.

What appealed to Mack, 27, was the chance to start after being Fred Taylor's backup. He had more lucrative long-term offers from the Jaguars and Giants. Mack's best season was in 2001 when he rushed for 877 yards and scored nine touchdowns, starting 11 games for the Jaguars.

April 1, 2003
Ravens reach agreement with LB Harris
The Ravens continued their efforts to keep their defense together by reaching a one-year, $680,000 agreement with inside linebacker Bernardo Harris. The deal included a $25,000 signing bonus. Harris's contract will count only $475,000 against the Ravens' salary cap. They recently re-signed outside linebacker Cornell Brown to a four-year, $3 million deal.

April 1, 2003
Saints' Clemons takes trip to Houston
Saints middle linebacker Charlie Clemons visited the Houston Texans on Tuesday and is considering a switch of positions. Though most teams want him as a mobile middle linebacker, the Texans are looking at him as an outside linebacker who can rush the quarterback. Clemons had 13½ sacks for the Saints in 2001, but his number dropped to half a sack last season. Clemons visited Detroit, Seattle and other teams that were looking at him as a middle linebacker

March 31, 2003
Holliday to meet with Chiefs
Packers defensive end Vonnie Holliday will visit the Chiefs on Tuesday and then start to make a decision about his future. He hasn't heard much from the Seahawks lately and he isn't sure that the Eagles will bid for him, so Holliday is going to try to make a choice between the Chiefs and the Cardinals. The Cardinals have held an offer to Holliday that will pay him more than $4 million a year. It's unlikely that the Packers will have the room to stay competitive trying to keep Holliday.

March 31, 2003
Dolphins should benefit from signing Zgonina
The Dolphins didn't seem to be front-runners in the quest for Rams defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina, but his busy cell phone convinced him to go to Miami. Zgonina, 32, agreed to a four-year deal worth around $3.6 million that included a $500,000 signing bonus. The Packers, Chiefs and Patriots kept calling trying to convince him not to sign with the Dolphins. The Dolphins wanted to bring in Zgonina to be a third defensive tackle who can provide leadership. He has the pass-rush ability to help them out and had four sacks for the Rams last year. More than anything, Zgonina is a leader in the mold of a Trace Armstrong, who can provide energy in critical situations.

March 31, 2003
Gash fits well in Buffalo's plans
Fullback Sam Gash was the perfect fit at fullback for the Bills, who recently released Larry Centers. The Bills want to be able to run the ball better in the fourth quarter. The combination of Gash and the young Phillip Crosby give running back Travis Henry two lead blockers.



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