Darrelle Revis and Darren Sproles found landing spots in the Northeast. Now Steve Smith and James Harrison look for new NFL homes.
Revis' stay in Tampa Bay was short, and he might not be in New England much longer. After less than a year as a Buccaneer, he was cut on Wednesday and officially agreed to terms with the Patriots on Thursday — but only on a one-year deal, albeit worth about $12 million.
The 28-year-old shutdown cornerback whose contract impasses have led him from the Jets to the Bucs to the Patriots since last April, was the latest big name on the move. Versatile running back-kick returner Sproles will add some juice to Philadelphia's already high-energy offense after he was acquired from New Orleans. And someone will grab veteran Smith after the standout wide receiver was released by Carolina.
As for Harrison, the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year was cut by Cincinnati, where he spent only the 2013 season after being released by Pittsburgh.
Yet another busy period on the third day of NFL free agency in which Tampa Bay cut tackle Donald Penn and signed Anthony Collins to replace him, and Green Bay re-signed linebacker Mike Neal and tight end Andrew Quarless.
Revis' business manager, John Geiger, tweeted: "Now it's Official.@Revis24 has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots!"
Tampa released the three-time All-Pro before he was due a $1.5 million bonus. Revis was cut after efforts to trade him and his $16 million salary failed.
New England had a need at the position because Aqib Talib left for Denver. The Patriots have not announced the Revis move.
The Eagles were eager to let the world know about the addition of the 30-year-old Sproles, who figures to be a threat as a receiver, runner, returner and in pass protection against blitzers — all the things he did so well in New Orleans.
"Darren Sproles is an unbelievable offensive weapon," coach Chip Kelly said. "He can do it all: run, catch, plus he's a proven winner. And on top of that, he can bring all of those dynamic skills to the return game as well. There is no question we were all excited once we found out we were going to be able to trade for him."
Sproles had 71 catches for 604 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 220 yards and two scores in 2013.
Smith has been the face of Carolina's franchise for a decade. But Smith turns 35 in May and would have cost the Panthers $7 million under this year's salary cap. The Panthers still owe Smith $3 million.
"When I took this position I knew that difficult decisions would have to be made along the way," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "To move on from a storied veteran player is probably the most difficult of all. A decision not to be taken lightly. However, after much thought I feel very strongly it's the right one."
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