Free-agent receiver Julian Edelman agreed Saturday to return to the New England Patriots. Edelman announced the deal with a tweet.
On Twitter, Edelman wrote: “Foxboro is home. Excited to be back.”
Edelman had a breakthrough season with the Patriots, making 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.
Edelman had re-signed with the Patriots last offseason, taking a one-year deal worth a shade over $1 million if he reached all incentives, which he did. Only the Patriots and New York Giants pursued him last year, in part because of his injury history.
n New England signed suspended former Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner, who will join Darrelle Revis in a revamped secondary after cornerback Aqib Talib left for a reported six-year, $57 million contract with Denver. Browner was suspended in December for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and must miss the first four games of the 2014 regular season. He will be allowed to attend training camp and play in exhibition games.
PACKERS: The Green Bay defense got a big jolt from a big name: Eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers.
Peppers, a former Carolina and Chicago defensive end, signed a three-year deal with the Packers, bringing one of the NFL’s best pass-rushers to a team that historically has avoided major free-agent splashes.
Peppers’ agent, Carl Carey, posted photos to his Twitter account of Peppers signing the deal and standing on the still-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field before the team announced it officially.
The Packers wouldn’t make Peppers available to media.
“I haven’t won a championship,” Peppers told the Packers’ website. “That’s where my focus is. I feel like the team is set up to make a run and I feel I can help get it there.”
BROWNS: Running back Ben Tate was on the team’s radar for months. He’s now on its roster.
Tate signed a two-year, $7 million free-agent deal with Cleveland, which has been desperate to find a quality every-down running back since trading Trent Richardson to Indianapolis early last season.
Tate, 25, who spent the past four years with Houston, wrote, “LET’S DO THIS CLEVELAND!! #DawgPound,” on his Twitter account, with a photo of him wearing a Browns cap.
Later in a teleconference, Tate said he’s eager to show he can be a feature back.
“It’s been something I’ve been waiting for, for a long time,” he said. “I’m just ready to grab this opportunity and run with it and show everyone what I’m all about. â€¦ I feel like now that I’ve been given this opportunity that I can be one of the top backs in the league. I’m going to let my play speak for itself. But I want it to be known that I do feel like I’m a guy who’s gonna be a top-10, top-8, top-5 running back.”
RAIDERS: Oakland agreed on a two-year deal to keep free-agent safety Usama Young after an injury-shortened first year.
His agent, Andy Simms, said on Twitter that Young will sign the deal to stay in Oakland. The Raiders have not made an announcement because the contract hasn’t yet been signed.
Oakland also said running back Darren McFadden signed his one-year contract to return to the team.
Young joined Oakland last season on a one-year deal with expectations to become the starting free safety. But a little more than a month after signing Young, the Raiders signed Charles Woodson to a one-year deal to fill that spot.
Young moved into a backup role and played well when he got his chance on defense and special teams. He started once in his 12 games before being placed on injured reserve with a neck injury in December.
BILLS: Running back Anthony Dixon is looking forward to carving a role for himself in a talented backfield and teaming up with Buffalo’s most significant free-agent addition, linebacker Brandon Spikes.
Both players agreed to terms on free-agent deals late Friday night.
“(Friday) night I was telling him I was coming and we need leaders, you need to come,” Dixon said. “He signed too, so that’s great. I’m a big fan of Spikes and we both are from the SEC so I’ve known about him. Now I’m just excited to get to work with him, too.”
Joining the Bills on a one-year contract, Spikes, 26, gives the Bills a physical, imposing presence in the middle of their defense. He’s known for his ability to stop the run, addressing one of Buffalo’s weakest areas from last season.
PANTHERS: A person familiar with the situation said Carolina agreed to terms on a two-year contract with Saints free-agent safety Roman Harper.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced.
Financial terms weren’t available.
Harper, 31, has been a mainstay at strong safety in New Orleans for eight seasons, and went to the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010. He only played in five games last season due to injuries.
SEAHAWKS: Tight end Zach Miller will stay with Seattle after agreeing to restructure his contract in an effort to free up salary-cap room.
Terms of Miller’s new deal weren’t immediately available, but it keeps an important piece of the Seahawks’ offense in Seattle after two starters — wide receiver Golden Tate and right tackle Breno Giacomini — left earlier this week in free agency.
Miller has become vital as both a receiver and blocker. Miller had 33 receptions and five touchdowns in the 2013 regular season, but his ability to block on the edge and help the run game led by Marshawn Lynch has proven just as important.
COLTS: Less than 24 hours after agreeing to a one-year deal, receiver Hakeem Nicks said he’s so confident in his own skills that it was an easy decision.
“I didn’t want to get myself in a long-term situation that I didn’t like. This is the best situation for me, a great organization, and a chance to come in and show them what I can do and what I can bring to the table,” Nicks said. “I believe it’s going to pay off.”
A year ago the Colts risked about $2.5 million on another veteran free agent with a first-round pedigree to help Indy’s still young receiving contingent. But Darrius Heyward-Bey caught only 29 passes for 309 yards and one touchdown, and was relegated mostly to special teams duty by the end of the season.
REDSKINS: Washington announced the signing of free-agent cornerback Tracy Porter.
Porter has 10 career interceptions in six NFL seasons with New Orleans, Denver and Oakland. He started all 16 games for the Raiders last year and had two interceptions.
The Redskins have been seeking a replacement for Josh Wilson, who is a free agent. Porter is expected to compete with second-year player David Amerson for the starting cornerback job opposite DeAngelo Hall.