Vikings acquire receiver Mike Wallace
Minnesota acquired wide receiver Mike Wallace from the Miami Dolphins on Friday, another attempt by the Vikings to establish a reliable deep threat and a move by the Dolphins for salary cap relief.
The Vikings will send a fifth-round draft pick to the Dolphins for their seventh-round selection in the swap that was finalized on Friday night.
The trade came two years after the Vikings tried to sign Wallace, who was benched by Dolphins coach Joe Philbin in the second half of their final game last season after an argument between the 28-year-old and the coaching staff. Wallace led the Dolphins with 10 touchdowns in 2014, his second season with the team, but he rarely clicked with quarterback Ryan Tannehill on long passes and was unhappy he wasn't targeted more.
Wallace was Miami's highest-paid player until the signing of star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a $114 million, six-year contract. That made the Dolphins eager to create more space under their salary cap, and with Wallace due $9.9 million this season he became an obvious target. Wallace has three years left on the deal he signed with the Dolphins that's worth as much as $60 million with $30 million guaranteed.
"We thank Mike for his contributions to the team over the last two seasons," Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said in a statement distributed by the team. "We wish him the best in the Minnesota."
When the Vikings didn't get Wallace in 2013, they brought in Greg Jennings instead. Jennings will carry an $11 million salary cap hit this season, giving the Vikings quite the expensive pair of pass-catchers. If Wallace can consistently stretch the field for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, though, he'll probably be worth it.
After releasing Jerome Simpson in September following his latest off-the-field trouble, the Vikings rarely completed deep passes. Until December, when waiver-wire pick-up Charles Johnson had emerged as a big-play producer, Bridgewater hit only four throws that netted more than 30 yards. Since trading Randy Moss 10 years ago, this search has persisted for the Vikings.
Wallace has 47 touchdown receptions over six seasons in the NFL. His best year was 2010, when he averaged 21 yards per catch, scored 10 times and finished with 1,257 yards.
At Pittsburgh, the Steelers spent the first frenzied days of free agency doing what they always do: watching other teams reach deep into their wallets to gamble on talented players they hope will put them over the top.
That's not how things work in Pittsburgh. The defending AFC North champions have won more Super Bowl trophies than any other franchise by focusing on keeping their own. When the fit is right, the price tag is never too high.
No wonder Ben Roethlisberger couldn't keep the smile off his face.
The Steelers and their franchise quarterback agreed on a new 5-year contract on Friday that could keep him in black-and-gold for the rest of the decade and almost certainly the remainder of his already remarkable career.
"It's home," Roethlisberger said. "It's family. As much as my wife and kids are family, so is the Rooney family. It just means a lot. I just love this place."
One Roethlisberger insists he never intended on leaving despite speculation in the middle of a disappointing 2013 that he may have wanted out. The two-time Super Bowl winner bristled at what he called a rumor and has responded by playing the best football of his life.
The 33-year-old passed for a career-high 4,952 yards last season, breaking his own team record and tying Drew Brees for NFL lead. Roethlisberger also had 32 touchdowns and nine interceptions while taking every snap during the regular season. He hasn't missed a start since 2012 while developing a rhythm in Todd Haley's dynamic offense.
At Irving, Texas, Darren McFadden will get a chance to replace NFL rushing champ DeMarco Murray in Dallas after the former high draft pick never could find a dominant form in Oakland.
The Cowboys signed McFadden on a two-year deal Friday, a day after Murray bolted for NFC East rival Philadelphia on a big contract that Dallas owner Jerry Jones said he couldn't match because of the strain it would have put on the salary cap.
McFadden had seven mostly disappointing seasons in Oakland after the Raiders drafted him fourth overall in 2008. The deal is reportedly worth up to $5.9 million.
Murray signed a five-year, $42 million contract with the Eagles on Thursday, with $21 million guaranteed. Jones said Murray would have remained in Dallas without salary cap constraints.
"I always kept my eye on Dallas," McFadden said of free agency in an interview for the team's website. "I figured whatever happened with DeMarco Murray's situation would have an impact on my situation. I feel like it worked out great for me."
At Indianapolis, the players' union has filed a grievance with the NFL to help Trent Richardson collect his $3 million salary from the Colts after Indianapolis cut him.
Richardson was waived Thursday by the team. He was still playing on his rookie contract signed with Cleveland after the Browns made him the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. They traded Richardson to Indianapolis in 2013, but he never made an impact with the Colts.
The Colts suspended him for the AFC championship game because he didn't contact them when his girlfriend had pregnancy complications, and he missed team functions. That suspension voided the contract, the Colts argue.
But the NFL Players Association has grieved the team's withholding of the running back's 2015 salary and can state its case before a hearing officer.
Percy Harvin is rejoining Rex Ryan, agreeing to a one-year contract with the Buffalo Bills.
Two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Friday that the wide receiver-kick returner is headed to Buffalo. He was released this month by the Jets after playing for Ryan last season in New York.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract was not officially announced.
Ryan, who became Bills coach soon after the Jets fired him in January, obviously was impressed by Harvin's performance in his short time with New York.
The Jets acquired the versatile Harvin from Seattle last October and Harvin had 29 catches for 350 yards and a touchdown in eight games with the Jets. Then-general manager John Idzik obtained him, calling the move "a potential coup" for New York. Harvin also ran for 110 yards on 22 carries, and averaged 24.8 yards on 20 kickoff returns.