Published March 13, 2012
Marques Colston is staying put in New Orleans. Brandon Marshall is headed to Chicago.
Hours before free agency began Tuesday, the Saints' star receiver agreed to a five-year contract to remain in the Big Easy. A bit later, Miami sent its top wideout, Marshall, to the Bears for two draft picks.
"This was important to me, to be back with this team in this situation," Colston said in a statement released by the Saints. "I was not looking to chase free agency. It was more important for me to be back in our program, a program we have been building and a program I believe in."
The top free agent, of course, is Peyton Manning, who was released a week ago by the Colts. He still is conducting his limited tour of teams, but the Dolphins' trade of their No. 1 receiver could indicate Miami is out of the running for the four-time league MVP.
"Brandon Marshall out of Miami?" Dolphins center Mike Pouncey tweeted. "Tell me this ain't true..."
Also re-signing with their teams were Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas, Eagles tackle Todd Herremans, Chargers center Nick Hardwick, Vikings backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels and Bears cornerback Tim Jennings.
Thomas missed last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a preseason game against Chicago. The 27-year-old expects to be ready for training camp with the Super Bowl champions.
"I definitely wanted to come back here. This is home for me," Thomas said. "Coming off an injury, it's better to come back to the same team. You know the personnel and the staff, and they know you. You know the defense."
San Francisco, which signed enigmatic receiver Randy Moss on Monday, added cornerback Perrish Cox on Tuesday. Neither was in the league last year.
Cox is getting a fresh start with San Francisco, signing a two-year contract after being acquitted on sexual assault charges in Colorado earlier this month. Moss sat out 2011 when no team signed him.
Players released Tuesday include Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman, Texans tackle Eric Winston and backup quarterback Matt Leinart, and San Diego tackle Marcus McNeill.