With Peyton Manning’s retirement out of the way, NFL movement was all about changing teams on Tuesday.
And Manning’s former franchise, the Broncos, lost a key piece.
Defensive end Malik Jackson, a key performer in Denver’s championship season, is heading to Jacksonville. A person familiar with the negotiations said the Jaguars have agreed to terms with Jackson on a six-year deal worth up to $90 million and including $42 million guaranteed. Free-agent deals can’t be finalized until Wednesday.
Jackson had 129 tackles, 14 sacks and two forced fumbles in his past three seasons. He started all 16 games in 2015, finishing with 45 tackles, seven passes defensed and five sacks.
Denver also released three players who helped it win the title: tight end Owen Daniels, guard Louis Vasquez and long snapper Aaron Brewer.
“These decisions are never easy, but we appreciate the contributions Louis, Owen and Aaron made to our team, especially during our Super Bowl run,” general manager John Elway said.
Two other former high draft picks also made headlines, with one following Manning out of football.
Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson called it quits after nine superb seasons. The second overall pick in 2007 made 731 receptions for 11,619 yards, a league-record 86.1 yards receiving per game, and 83 touchdowns. He reached 10,000 yards (115 games) and 11,000 yards (127 games) quicker than anyone in NFL history. Including the postseason, he has another league mark with six 200-yard receiving games.
Johnson broke one of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice’s records with 1,964 yards receiving in 2012. He ranked among league leaders last season with 88 receptions for 1,214 yards and nine TDs, playing through lingering injuries.
“Let me assure you that this was not an easy or hasty decision,” the 30-year-old Johnson said. “I, along with those closest to me, have put a lot of time, deliberation and prayer into this decision and I truly am at peace with it.”
Indianapolis cut Bjoern Werner, its first-rounder in 2013. The outside linebacker Werner had just 6 1/2 sacks in 38 games since being drafted 24th overall.
After starting 15 games in 2014, Werner barely played last season.
Also, defensive end Mario Williams signed a $16 million, two-year contract with the Miami Dolphins, who now have an abundance of Pro Bowl pass rushers — for the moment, at least.
Williams reached the agreement a week after being released by the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins sought reinforcement at end because they may lose Olivier Vernon in free agency, and the status of four-time Pro Bowler Cameron Wake is in question, too.
The Vikings released receiver Mike Wallace after one season in Minnesota to clear $11.5 million from the salary cap. Wallace, 29, had just 39 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns, all career lows.
The Vikings inherited his contract from Miami after acquiring him and a seventh-round draft pick in a trade that sent a fifth-round selection to the Dolphins.
Chicago receiver Alshon Jeffery signed his franchise tag tender for $14.6 million. The Bears and Jeffery have until July 15 to agree to a multiyear contract.
Calf, hamstring, groin and shoulder injuries limited Jeffery to nine games last season. But he still led the team in receiving with 807 yards. Jeffery played in all 16 games the previous two years, finishing with 1,421 yards in 2013 and 1,133 in 2014.
Buffalo is bringing back guard Richie Incognito, who took less money to remain with the team he says “saved me.”
Incognito agreed to a three-year, $15 million contract with Buffalo on Tuesday.
“I went from a guy nobody wanted to getting redeemed by Buffalo, and I owe them a lot,” Incognito said. “You can’t put a price tag on that. They believe in me and I believe in them. I’m real excited about where we are headed.”
His future had been uncertain before he signed a one-year contract with Buffalo in January 2015. It came after Incognito spent 15 months out of football for being a central figure in the Miami Dolphins’ bullying scandal in 2013.
Incognito emerged as a team leader and key member of an offensive line that helped the Bills lead the league with 2,432 yards rushing. He started all 16 games at left guard.
“I was just talking with my mom and we were shedding tears of joy,” he said. “This is another chapter in my life, and the other chapters have not been so great. But just the resiliency and the dedication and the resolve to get to this point, it definitely plays in the back of my mind.”
While Incognito returns to Buffalo, former Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin agreed to a two-year contract with the Eagles.
Pittsburgh signed cornerback William Gay to a three-year deal. Gay, 31, has played in 144 straight games since the Steelers took him in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. He holds the NFL record for most consecutive pick-sixes in NFL history, returning five straight interceptions for touchdowns between the 2013 and 2015 seasons.