LT signs with Jets, Browns trade Quinn to Broncos
LaDainian Tomlinson found a new home, while the Cleveland Browns cleaned house.
The New York Jets added Tomlinson to last season's top-ranked rushing offense, signing the aging former MVP to a two year-contract worth about $5.2 million Sunday.
The 31-year-old Tomlinson, cut last month by San Diego, chose New York over Minnesota after visiting the Vikings on Thursday. The 2006 NFL MVP spent Friday with the Jets, capping it with dinner with coach Rex Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and other team officials.
"He wanted to go to a team that he thought had a chance to compete for the championship," agent Tom Condon told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "He wanted to go somewhere where he had a chance to have a significant role, and so with the Jets he also was going to be very familiar with the offensive system."
While New York thinks Tomlinson could be a major piece for a team that was one win from a Super Bowl appearance, the Browns parted ways with two former first-round draft picks once considered franchise cornerstones.
Cleveland traded quarterback Brady Quinn to Denver in exchange for fullback Peyton Hillis, a 2011 sixth-round draft pick and a conditional pick in 2012. The Browns later dealt linebacker Kamerion Wimbley to Oakland for an undisclosed draft pick.
Quinn's departure came a day after the Browns agreed to terms with free agent quarterback Jake Delhomme on a two-year contract. Meanwhile, the decision to deal Wimbley was a bit of a surprise after he showed flashes last season of being the kind of player he was when he recorded 11 sacks in his rookie year.
Also Sunday, longtime Packers right tackle Mark Tauscher agreed to terms on a multiyear contract that will bring him back to Green Bay, according to agent Neil Cornrich.
The Jets went after Tomlinson hard even though he turns 31 in June, is coming off his least productive season and there are questions whether he has much left. New York apparently still saw plenty to like in Tomlinson, who ranks eighth on the NFL's career rushing list with 12,490 yards, and gave him a deal worth about $5.2 million.
Once one of the NFL's most dynamic players, Tomlinson is expected to back up second-year running back Shonn Greene, who emerged in his rookie season and made Thomas Jones expendable.
"Good move by the organization," All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis said on his Twitter page. "I couldn't be more excited about this."
Tomlinson ran for 730 yards - his first season under 1,000 - on 223 carries for an average of 3.3 yards per carry, all career lows. He scored 12 touchdowns, but his role was reduced in an offense that shifted its focus to quarterback Philip Rivers and the passing game.
He's still regarded as an excellent route runner and superb receiver, two qualities that made him attractive to both New York and Minnesota.
Tomlinson is the latest high-profile player to be signed, drafted or acquired by the Jets in the last few years, joining Brett Favre, Kris Jenkins, Mark Sanchez, Bart Scott, Braylon Edwards and Antonio Cromartie.
In Denver, Quinn is expected to compete with Kyle Orton for the Broncos' starting job after going 3-9 in 12 starts for Cleveland. Quinn was drafted with the 22nd pick in the first round in 2007 out of Notre Dame, and embraced by Browns fans as the quarterback of the future. But it never panned out for the Browns or Quinn.
"I appreciate everything Brady did for us last year and in his three seasons with the Cleveland Browns," coach Eric Mangini said in a statement. "He is professional in the way he goes about doing his job and worked extremely hard at every aspect of his game. I wish him the best of success in Denver."
Quinn's days in Cleveland appeared numbered when new president Mike Holmgren failed to endorse him as the Browns' future starter. Last week, the Browns acquired backup Seneca Wallace in a trade with Seattle, released Anderson and hosted Delhomme, recently cut by Carolina.
Wimbley becomes the fourth former first-round pick on Oakland's defense, joining defensive end Richard Seymour, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and safety Michael Huff. He can play either end or outside linebacker.
Wimbley is the first player Oakland has added from another organization since the start of free agency earlier this month.
"This gives us a guy who has been a strong presence as a pass rusher," Oakland senior executive John Herrera said. "He has been very productive."
Re-signing with the Packers allows Tauscher, who went to the University of Wisconsin, to play his entire football career in his home state. Tauscher, Green Bay's starting right tackle for most of his first nine seasons in the league, was an unrestricted free agent.
Milwaukee's ESPN 540 AM radio reported Tauscher's return on its Web site Saturday night. The team has yet to announce the move.