NFL Free Agency Frenzy Begins

The NFL's free agency free-for-all has begun in a frenzy — and expect it to get wilder.

Contract negotiations for free agents and draft picks started Tuesday, with draftees able to sign right away. The big names among veterans — Nnamdi Asomugha, Santonio Holmes, Matt Hasselbeck — can't officially sign until Thursday, but their agents began negotiating deals earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the New York Jets took care of their top priority quickly, coming to terms with wide receiver Santonio Holmes on a five-year deal, according to a source.'s Adam Schein reports that the five-year contract includes $24 million guaranteed. The 27-year-old had 52 catches for 746 yards and six touchdowns despite missing four games due to a suspension in his first year with the Jets in 2010.

In Tennessee, the Titan have agreed to contract terms with free agent Matt Hasselbeck, according to several reports. The acquisition of Hasselbeck, 35, who led Seattle to the Super Bowl in 2005, will usher in a new era at quarterback for the franchise under first-year head coach Mike Munchak, reports. The Titans alternated for the last several years between Vince Young and Kerry Collins, who retired several weeks ago.

Elsewhere, quarterback Donovan McNabb's controversial stay in Washington may be over, reports. The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to acquire McNabb in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft and possibly a conditional 2013 draft pick, contingent on certain 2011 performance goals reached by the former Philadelphia Eagles and Redskins quarterback.

The deal also is contingent on McNabb, 34, agreeing to a contract for much less money with the Vikings. He signed a five-year, $78.5 million contract extension in 2010 with the Redskins last November, with about $40 million guaranteed. McNabb, 34, will be expected to take over the starting job in Minnesota while the Vikings work to groom Christian Ponder, their 2011 first-round draft pick.

Meanwhile, several agents told The Associated Press they didn't expect to sleep Tuesday as the NFL reopened for business after more than four months. In addition to their clients already in the league who are unrestricted or restricted free agents, they will have veterans released. And they are trying to set up youngsters, such as college starters safety Winston Venable of Boise State (Chicago) and quarterback Jerrod Johnson of Texas A&M (Philadelphia), with teams after they were passed over in April's draft.

"I always have a lot of guys in that category, and it's been absolutely nuts," said agent Joe Linta, who placed Michigan State tight end Charlie Gantt with the Chiefs and Cal receiver Jeremy Ross with the Patriots on Tuesday. He also fielded calls from a dozen teams for Utah defensive tackle Sealver Siliga before he signed with San Francisco.

The math adds up to hundreds of transactions in a few days, as opposed to a few weeks had there not been a labor stoppage.

"I think the best way to say it is whatever you can imagine, it's probably worse than that," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "There is multitasking at its most furious."


Normally, teams would bring in players to visit their facilities, have them work out and take physicals, perhaps even attend meetings and speak with potential future teammates. Some of that might happen in the next few days, particularly for a high-profile player such as Asomugha. Most of it won't.

"I think all of the guys realize this is going to be a whole new world," agent Jordan Woy told the Associated Press. "Most said, 'Listen, the bottom line is the team I'm with I like. If somebody out there is really interested, if they come with a great offer up front, then we'll look into that."

Other deals reported Wednesday by include:

—the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to terms on a four-year contract with veteran cornerback Ike Taylor, a league source confirmed;

—veteran safety Eric Weddle will remain with the San Diego Chargers after testing the free agent market;

—the Carolina Panthers agreed to terms with former Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Ron Edwards, 32, who could start at nose tackle alongside rookie defensive tackle Terrell McClain from South Florida;

—veteran wide receiver Donte Stallworth is expected to join the Washington Redskins on Friday, the first day teams are allowed to finalize free agent contracts under the labor rules implemented at the end of the NFL lockout.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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