NFL notebook: Titans release RB Chris Johnson
The CJ2K era is over in Tennessee, just the latest step by the Titans in their franchise makeover.
The Titans told Chris Johnson they are releasing him Friday after six seasons to avoid paying $8 million the running back is due in 2014, along with the final three seasons left on the $53.5 million contract he signed in September 2011. His release comes before the Titans start their offseason program Monday with new coach Ken Whisenhunt.
General manager Ruston Webster said the Titans thank Johnson for his contributions, setting so many franchise records and being durable over his six seasons with Tennessee.
“We have had an open dialogue with Chris' agent, Joel Segal, over the last few weeks, and we appreciate the patience and professionalism they have shown throughout this process,” Webster said in statement. “We made an effort to trade Chris but were unable to do so.”
The Titans have been busy working to replace Johnson, who turns 29 in September. They agreed with Dexter McCluster on a three-year deal at the start of free agency after signing Shonn Greene in March 2013. The Titans also re-signed Jackie Battle recently, along with reaching a one-year deal for kick returner and running back Leon Washington on March 11.
Adding another running back in the May draft also is expected.
It didn't help that Johnson repeatedly said he wouldn't take a pay cut. The Titans didn't face a deadline that would have guaranteed the $8 million Johnson was due in 2014 until the first week of the regular season, but Johnson planned to report for the start of the offseason program Monday.
He flew into Nashville late Thursday night to meet with the Titans on Friday.
Saints agree to terms with Champ Bailey
Champ Bailey will get to chase a Pro Bowl record and another Super Bowl appearance with the Saints.
The veteran cornerback agreed to a two-year contract with the Saints.
The 35-year-old Bailey played the last 10 seasons with Denver after spending his first five in the NFL with Washington. A shutdown cornerback for much of his career, Bailey has made three All-Pro teams and been selected to 12 Pro Bowls. He trails only Hall of Fame end Reggie White (13) among defensive players in NFL history in Pro Bowls.
Bailey's 52 interceptions are the most among active players, as are his 204 passes defensed. He made the league's All-Decade team for 2000-09.
“We are excited to be able to add a future Hall of Fame player with the addition of Champ Bailey,” Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said. “His career accomplishments mirror that of his high character, and he's a very prideful and competitive player who we believe will add to our defense.”
Bailey missed 11 games because of a left foot sprain originally suffered in the 2013 preseason, which wound up being a Lisfranc injury, one of the most painful for an athlete.
He returned late in the season to help the Broncos advance to the Super Bowl, where they were routed by Seattle.
Seattle locks up coach Pete Carroll with extension
The Seahawks have locked up coach Pete Carroll with a three-year contract extension after he led the franchise to its first Super Bowl title.
The Seahawks announced the extension Friday. Carroll's original five-year deal, signed with the team in January 2010 and worth a reported $35 million, was set to expire after the 2014 season.
Carroll has proven his attitude and approach can work in the NFL during his third stint as a head coach at the pro level. He's preached competition with his players and it has shown with the emergence of stars like quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman.
Carroll is 38-26 in four regular seasons with Seattle and 5-2 in the playoffs. At age 62, Carroll is the second-oldest head coach in the NFL.
Bills land WR Williams in trade with Bucs
Receiver Mike Williams is returning home to Buffalo after being acquired by the Bills in a trade with the Buccaneers.
The trade, contingent on Williams passing a physical, addresses a significant need for the Bills by adding an experienced, proven starter to what had been a young group of receivers. In exchange, the Bills gave up a sixth-round draft pick.
At 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, Williams has topped 900 yards receiving in two of his four seasons. That includes 2010, when he led NFL rookies with 65 catches, 964 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He comes to Buffalo with a hefty price tag a year after signing a six-year, $40 million contract. Injuries limited Williams to just six games last season, when he finished with 22 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
Williams grew up in Buffalo, where he was a high school star. He then spent three seasons at Syracuse, where he played under current Bills coach Doug Marrone before abruptly quitting the team during his junior season.
Safety Adrian Wilson released by Patriots
New England released safety Adrian Wilson. The 13-year veteran and four-time All-Pro did not play a snap for the Patriots in his one season with the team after hurting his ankle in the preseason. He spent all of 2013 on injured reserve.
Wilson spent his first 12 seasons with the Cardinals. Wilson has played in 181 career games with 162 starts, making 716 tackles, 25½ sacks and 27 interceptions.