NFL ROUNDUP \ News and notes
Steelers: Pittsburgh signed restricted free agent punter Andy Lee to an offer sheet Tuesday. The San Francisco 49ers have a week to match the Steelers' offer and keep Lee. If they don't, the Steelers must send a sixth-round draft pick to the 49ers as compensation. The move would not appear to bode well for Chris Gardocki, who averaged just 41.3 yards per punt last season for the Steelers, the third-lowest average in the league. Lee averaged a career-best 44.8 yards a kick. Lee was the 49ers' sixth-round draft pick in 2004 out of Pitt, where he was the team's starting punter for more than three seasons and was twice named the Big East special teams player of the year.
Saints: Linebacker Brian Simmons, released by Cincinnati last month, has agreed to a three-year contract. Simmons, the Bengals' No. 1 pick in 1998, had averaged 116 tackles a season for the Bengals since 2001. He was limited to 11 games in 2006 because of a neck strain, but he still had 78 tackles (41 solo) and two interceptions. He had missed only one game from 2001-2005. He has appeared in 121 games, with 118 starts since being selected 17th overall in 1998 out of North Carolina. Simmons has 11 interceptions in his career, including two returned for touchdowns, and 23 sacks. He has also recovered eight fumbles.
Raiders: Oakland agreed with two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Jeremy Newberry on a 1.5 million, one-year contract. Newberry, a Pro Bowler in 2001-02 with San Francisco, spent all of last season on injured reserve with the 49ers with an damaged left knee. He has played in only 11 games the past three seasons because of various injuries. But the Raiders are counting on him to help an offensive line that allowed a league-worst 72 sacks last season. Newberry, who turns 31 this month, has played center, tackle and guard in the past and could be used in any of those spots with Oakland. The Raiders also cleared up salary cap room by restructuring the contracts of running back LaMont Jordan and receiver Ronald Curry. The new deal with Jordan reduces the 4.75 million roster bonus he was due on Wednesday by 1.75 million. Curry signed a five-year deal that could be worth up to 20 million and includes 5 million in guaranteed money.
Chiefs: Trent Green was seeking a trade that could lead to the end of his career in Kansas City. "We're going to look and see what his options are," his agent, Jim Steiner, said Tuesday. A statement issued by the Chiefs said conversations with Green continue to be "amicable and productive." General manager Carl Peterson met with the 37-year-old Green on Monday. Green, who is signed through 2009, is scheduled to make 7.7 million and 9.2 million in the final two years of his contract. Damon Huard, who filled in when Green was hurt last season, recently signed a three-year deal with the Chiefs rather than become a free agent. Kansas City also has Brodie Croyle, last year's third-round draft pick, to compete with Huard for the job.
Around the league: Tampa Bay signed offensive tackle Luke Petitgout, released by the New York Giants after starting 106 games for them since being drafted in the first round in 1999. ... Kansas City signed linebacker Napoleon Harris, who played two years in Minnesota after being traded there by Oakland in the deal for Randy Moss. ... The Chicago Bears and New York Jets finalized their trade for running back Thomas Jones. He joins the Jets and gives Cedric Benson a clear shot at Chicago's starting job. ... San Francisco signed former New England linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, the fifth free agent it has signed since the signing period began last Friday. ... Baltimore re-signed running back Musa Smith, who has been injured during most of his four seasons with the Ravens. ... Carolina released backup quarterback Chris Weinke, a former Heisman Trophy winner. ... New England re-signed Larry Izzo, who has been to the Pro Bowl three times as a special teams player.
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