NFL free agency: Donovan McNabb heading to Vikings
AP Pro Football Writer
Donovan McNabb’s time in Washington is over after only a year.
The Minnesota Vikings acquired the veteran quarterback from the Redskins on Wednesday night in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick.
The deal gives the Vikings a six-time Pro Bowler who will play until first-round draft choice Christian Ponder is ready to take over. The deal also includes a conditional sixth-round pick in 2013.
Ponder tweeted that he welcomes McNabb to the team and looks forward to learning from him. But he also says he still plans on fighting for the starting job in Week 1.
McNabb will have to restructure the five-year, $78 million deal he signed with the Redskins because the Vikings don’t have enough room to fit him in their salary cap.
McNabb’s departure closes the book on coach Mike Shanahan’s first major Redskins gaffe. He gave up second- and fourth-round draft picks for McNabb last year but ended up benching him for the final three games of a 6-10 season.
“He was going to come in and really help us win more games, but it didn’t work out,” said linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. “Relationships broke down, and now he’s not here, but you can’t really focus on that. You’ve got to continue to move forward.”
Two days after the lockout ended, NFL teams are making deals at a frantic pace, with some big names changing addresses, and others staying put.
Not going anywhere is New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who signed a one-year extension Wednesday that keeps him with the team through 2012.
Free agents aren’t allowed to sign contracts until Friday.
In other moves Wednesday:
• Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is leaving Seattle for Tennessee. He spent the past 10 seasons with the Seahawks, leading them to the 2005 NFC title. The Titans drafted quarterback Jake Locker eighth overall in April, but needed a veteran presence after Kerry Collins retired; they plan to trade or release Vince Young.
Given the lack of offseason opportunities for Locker to get up to speed, Hasselbeck figures to be the starter in Nashville.
• DeAngelo Williams, the Panthers’ career rushing leader, agreed to remain in Carolina. Williams’ 2010 season was cut short by a right foot injury. He rushed for 361 yards and one touchdown. He had his best pro season in 2008, rushing for a team-record 1,515 yards, 18 touchdowns and a 5.5-yard average.
In perhaps the wildest day of transactions in franchise history, linebackers James Anderson and Thomas Davis agreed to five-year contracts. Also agreeing to terms were seven free agents, including kicker Olindo Mare, defensive tackle Ron Edwards, tight end Ben Hartsock, fullback Rick Brockel, defensive backs Cletis Gordan, Devon Hall and Kevin Payne.
Bringing in Mare will end the career of the only original Panther, John Kasay.
• Placekicker Adam Vinatieri agreed to a three-year contract with Indianapolis. The 38-year-old Vinatieri is one of seven players in league history to score 500 or more points for two teams (Patriots, Colts). He is headed into his 15th NFL season.
Safety Melvin Bullitt also agreed to remain with the Colts. He was a backup to the oft-injured Bob Sanders since joining the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2007, but is expected to become a full-time starter this season after Sanders’ release earlier this year.
• Cleveland will release quarterback Jake Delhomme on Thursday. He was 2-2 as a starter in 2010, but Colt McCoy has that job this year. Delhomme was scheduled to make $5.4 million in base salary.
• Cincinnati reached an agreement with Bruce Gradkowski, who knows the team’s new offensive system and will help develop rookie Andy Dalton. The 28-year-old quarterback was in Tampa from 2008-09 with Jay Gruden, the Bengals’ new offensive coordinator.
Incumbent Carson Palmer has told the team he would retire rather than play another season in Cincinnati, which has two winning records in the past 20 years.
• Minnesota and kicker Ryan Longwell agreed to terms on a four-year deal. The 36-year-old Longwell went 17 for 18 on field goals and 30 for 31 on extra points last season.
• Guard Robert Gallery agreed to a three-year contract with Seattle, where he rejoins Tom Cable, his former coach with the Raiders and now a Seahawks assistant.
Gallery was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 draft by the Raiders, but struggled when the Raiders tried him at tackle. He was moved to left guard before the 2007 season – coinciding with Cable’s arrival in Oakland – and flourished.
But he’s played just 18 games the past two seasons because of injuries.
• Safety Eric Weddle agreed on a five-year, $40 million deal with San Diego with $19 million guaranteed. He is due $14 million this year, including a $13 million signing bonus.
“It’s exciting to think of Eric as being a Charger for his entire career,” coach Norv Turner said.
• Receiver Brandon Stokley, 35, agreed to a one-year contract with Washington, which also traded with Denver for wideout Jabar Gaffney and agreed to terms with receiver Donte’ Stallworth.
• Atlanta agreed on a five-year deal with outside linebacker Stephen Nicholas.
• The Texans agreed to terms with backup quarterback Matt Leinart.
“I am excited to be a Texan,” Leinart wrote on Twitter. “Ultimately, I had to do what was best for me at this point. People can question the decision, but it was the right one for me.”
• Lance Moore, a favorite target of Drew Brees, agreed to terms on a five-year contract with New Orleans. Last season, Moore played in all 16 regular season games and had 66 receptions for 763 yards and eight touchdowns.
• The Jaguars hooked up with linebacker Paul Posluszny for a six-year contract worth $45 million, including $15 million guaranteed.
“Jacksonville was very aggressive from the start,” Posluszny told The Associated Press. “They showed a lot of interest. They have a lot of confidence in me, and I don’t want to let them down.”
• Defensive tackle Barry Cofield agreed to a six-year, $36 million deal with the Redskins, $12.5 million guaranteed. Cofield essentially replaces Albert Haynesworth, whom the Redskins are expected to cut or trade.
• San Francisco reached agreement on a five-year contract with defensive lineman Ray McDonald.