Hours before free agency began Tuesday, the Saints’ star receiver agreed to a five-year contract to remain in the Big Easy. A bit later, Miami sent its top wideout, Marshall, to the Bears for two draft picks.
Then another receiver made headlines in Washington when Pierre Garcon joined the Redskins after the free agency frenzy began.
“This was important to me, to be back with this team in this situation,” Colston said in a statement released by the Saints. “I was not looking to chase free agency. It was more important for me to be back in our program, a program we have been building and a program I believe in.”
The top free agent, of course, is Peyton Manning, who was released a week ago by the Colts. He still is conducting his limited tour of teams, but the Dolphins’ trade of their No. 1 receiver could indicate Miami is out of the running for the four-time league MVP.
“Brandon Marshall out of Miami?” Dolphins center Mike Pouncey tweeted. “Tell me this ain’t true…”
Garcon had 188 catches for 16 touchdowns and a 13.4-yard average in four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. Last year he had 70 receptions for 947 yards and six TDs as Indianapolis finished 2-14.
Washington, which is losing $36 million in salary cap space over the next two seasons for excessive spending in the uncapped 2010 season, also re-signed defensive end Adam Carriker for four years and $20 million, with $7 million guaranteed.
Also re-upping with their teams were Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas, Eagles tackle Todd Herremans, Chargers center Nick Hardwick, Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas, Vikings backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels, Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant and linebacker Heath Farwell, Bears cornerback Tim Jennings, and 49ers linebacker Tavares Gooden, a valuable special teams player.
The Giants’ Thomas missed last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a preseason game against Chicago. The 27-year-old expects to be ready for training camp with the champions.
“I definitely wanted to come back here. This is home for me,” Thomas said. “Coming off an injury, it’s better to come back to the same team. You know the personnel and the staff, and they know you. You know the defense.”
Hardwick hoped to stay put in San Diego.
” I know how hard these guys work up here and how hard the coaches work and how much time they put in and how detailed and very specific everything is, and I couldn’t imagine going somewhere,” he said.
San Francisco, which signed enigmatic receiver Randy Moss on Monday, added cornerback Perrish Cox on Tuesday. Neither was in the league last year.
Cox is getting a fresh start with San Francisco, signing a two-year contract after being acquitted on sexual assault charges in Colorado earlier this month. Moss sat out 2011 when no team signed him.
Players released Tuesday include Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman, Texans tackle Eric Winston and backup quarterback Matt Leinart, Cardinals tackle Levi Brown and San Diego tackle Marcus McNeill. Look for teams to have strong interest in Winston and Brown.
Star linebacker-defensive end Mario Williams arrived in Buffalo, where he is the Bills’ first priority in free agency. Williams was limited to just five games last season before he tore a chest muscle.