The NFL's Old Faces in New Places
Peyton Manning, QB
Manning plans to retire as a Bronco after signing a five-year, $96 million deal. He's got two trips to the Super Bowl and one title, 11 Pro Bowls and was the fastest player to reach 50,000 yards and 4,000 completions. His first TD toss for Denver will be his 400th. Manning's familiar No. 18 was actually retired - a tribute to Denver's first quarterback, Frank Tripucka. But Tripucka was more than happy to let Manning bring it out of mothballs.
Tim Tebow, QB
Just two days after the Broncos signed Peyton Manning, Tebow was traded to the Jets for fourth- and sixth-round draft picks, while New York gets a seventh-rounder - all in 2012, In his first taste as a starter last season, Tebow revitalized the Denver Broncos, leading them to a 6-3 record to finish the season. He also helped them claim an overtime victory to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening round of the playoffs.
Mario Williams, DE
The All-Pro pass rusher shocked the league by signing on March 15 with Buffalo, which will reportedly make Williams the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. Though he missed all but five games in 2011 due to injury, Williams should significantly improve Buffalo's pass rush, which ranked 27th in the league last year with just 29 sacks.
Vincent Jackson, WR
Jackson ended his occasionally acrimonious relationship with the Chargers -- he held out for the first 10 games of 2010 and reluctantly signed a franchise tag deal last year -- by signing a five-year deal with Tampa on March 13. The 29-year-old receiver will give the Bucs the deep threat they lacked in 2011.
Brandon Marshall, WR
The mercurial wide receiver was reunited with former Broncos teammate and current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler when Miami sent him to Chicago for a pair of third-rounders on March 13. Expect Marshall to put up big numbers in his new digs: He caught over 100 passes in both seasons that he and Cutler started together in Denver.
Matt Flynn, QB
Flynn, who signed a three-year deal, has been a career backup in Green Bay, stuck behind All-Pro Aaron Rodgers - much the way Matt Hasselbeck was stuck behind Brett Favre before being acquired by Seattle in 2001. When given an opportunity, Flynn has shined. His best performance was his last, throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns in a victory over Detroit in Green Bay's season finale.
DeMeco Ryans, LB
The Eagles made a big move to bolster the middle of their defense, acquiring two-time Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans from the Texans for a fourth-round draft pick and swap of third-round choices in 2012. The 27-year-old linebacker and team captain leaves Houston as the Texans' all-time leader with 637 tackles while also contributing eight sacks, six forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and two interceptions in his six-year career. He earned Pro Bowl honors following the 2007 and 2009 campaigns.
Laurent Robinson, WR
Last season with the Cowboys, Robinson, 26, had 54 catches for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns, all of which were career-highs. A third-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2007, Robinson has 143 catches for 1,858 yards and 15 touchdowns in his career. The Jaguars signed the free-agent wide receiver to a five-year, $32.5 million contract.
Pierre Garcon, WR
Looks like Pierre Garcon prefers Robert Griffin III to Andrew Luck; the 25-year-old former Colts receiver announced on his Facebook page on March 13 that he'll sign with Washington, which will likely take Griffin with the No. 2 overall pick in April's draft.
Mario Manningham, WR
The 25-year-old Manningham agreed to a two-year contract and had 39 catches for 523 yards and four touchdowns total last year in his fourth NFL season.
Brandon Carr, CB
The Cowboys beefed up their secondary by signing former Kansas City cornerback Brandon Carr to a reported five-year, $50.1 million contract on the second day of free agency. Carr made a career-high four interceptions last season.
Eric Wright, CB
Apparently Jackson and Nicks weren't enough for new Bucs coach Greg Schiano, who signed 26-year-old corner Eric Wright to a five-year deal reportedly worth $37.5 million. A five-year veteran, Wright spent his first four years with the Browns before moving to the Lions last season.
Dallas Clark, TE
With 16 starts across the last two seasons, Clark hasn't been able to stay healthy enough to put up the numbers he once had with Peyton Manning dissecting defenses in Indianapolis. Without Manning all of last season, the Colts could only find Clark 34 times for two touchdowns, down from 100 receptions and 10 touchdowns in 2009. In Tampa he will be replacing Kellen Winslow Jr., whose knee problems had really hindered his production on the field. The 32 year-old Clark has a rejuvenated attitude and says he is motivated by the doubts people have regarding the future of his career.
Michael Bush, RB
Bush agreed to a four-year contract with the Bears and will join Matt Forte, who got a franchise tag from the Bears, in Chicago's backfield. Bush played four seasons for the Oakland Raiders, gaining 2,642 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and scoring 21 touchdowns. The powerful 245-pound back had his most productive season in 2011, setting career highs in rushes (256), yards (977), touchdowns (7), receptions (37) and yards receiving (418). He mostly was a backup to Darren McFadden but had nine starts last season when McFadden was injured.
Ronnie Brown, RB
Now 30, Ronnie Brown appears to be on the back end of his career. However, his age can't be judged by a number since he has never been in a situation where he's had to carry the bulk of the load. He's never had 250 carries in a season, and after the outstanding performance by Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy, the Eagles could afford to get rid of Brown. The Chargers are content with Ryan Matthews as their main running back, but with just over 1,000 rushing yards by him last season, they could use another contributor.
Randy Moss, WR
Moss came out of his year-long retirement when he signed a one-year deal with San Francisco on March 12. While the 35-year-old Moss is by no means a safe bet to succeed in 2012 -- he caught just 28 passes for three teams in 2010 -- bringing him in is a low-risk, high-reward move for the 49ers, who didn't get much production out of their wideouts in 2011.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB
Green-Ellis, 26, led the Patriots in rushing with 667 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. The year prior he had 1008 rushing yard and 13 touchdowns.
Peyton Hillis, RB
Hillis, 26, was expected to continue to break out in 2011 after his strong 2010 campaign (270 rushes for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns), but battled injuries all season long and only appeared in 10 games for Cleveland, rushing for just 587 yards and three touchdowns. Hillis reportedly signed a one-year $3 million deal with the Chiefs.
Brandon Lloyd, WR
Lloyd spent last season split between the Denver Broncos, who traded him in October, and the Rams. All told, he amassed 966 receiving yards and five touchdowns. The previous year, he led the entire NFL with 1,448 yards and also caught 11 TDs.
Brandon Jacobs, RB
Jacobs will join former teammate Mario Manningham in San Francisco after reaching an agreement with the 49ers. The Giants released Jacobs earlier in March after the two sides could not come to an agreement on the reduction of his salary. Jacobs, 29, was due to earn $4.9 million in base salary next season. Jacobs is the fourth-leading rusher in team history with 4,848 yards and his 56 rushing touchdowns are the most for any Giant. He has lost carries in recent years to Ahmad Bradshaw's emergence, but was still productive in 14 games last season, rushing for 571 yards and seven touchdowns.
Cortland Finnegan, CB
Finnegan will be reunited with former Titans and current Rams head coach Jeff Fisher in St. Louis, which signed the 28-year-old corner to a five-year, $50 million deal late on March 13. Finnegan's 2008 All-Pro selection came under Fisher, who drafted the hard-nosed player in the seventh-round in 2006.
Carl Nicks, G
The Bucs added to their free agent haul by signing former Saints guard Carl Nicks, one of the best offensive linemen on the market. Nicks, a two-time Pro Bowler who will be the highest-paid guard in the league, should help shore up Tampa's 30th ranked run offense.
Robert Meachem, WR
It didn't take the Chargers long to find Jackson's replacement, luring wideout Robert Meachem away from the Saints with a four-year, $25.9 million deal. The fifth-year receiver had 40 catches for 620 yards and six touchdowns last year in New Orleans.
Eddie Royal, WR
The Chargers added their second receiver of the offseason on March 15, signing wideout Eddie Royal to a three-year deal just two days after bringing Robert Meachem in from New Orleans. The speedy Royal should make an impact on both offense and special teams for San Diego, where he'll likely be the No. 3 receiver and No. 1 punt returner.
Jarret Johnson, LB
The veteran linebacker signed with San Diego on March 14, leaving Baltimore after nine solid years with the Ravens. He'll play under new Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano, the brother of longtime Ravens defensive coach -- and current Colts head coach -- Chuck Pagano.
Ben Grubbs, G
Johnson wasn't the only free agent to bolt from the cap tight Ravens, with ex-Baltimore offensive guard Ben Grubbs signing a five-year, $36 million deal with New Orleans on March 15. Grubbs will replace Carl Nicks on the Saints' O-line; Nicks left New Orleans for Tampa Bay on March 14.
Chad Henne, QB
The former Dolphins quarterback moved up the Florida coast on March 14, signing a two-year deal with the Jaguars. Henne will likely compete for time with incumbent starter Blaine Gabbert, who was dreadful as a rookie in 2011.
Stanford Routt, CB
Routt didn't take long to find a new home this offseason, signing a three-year deal with the Chiefs on Feb. 20, just 11 days after he was cut by Oakland. The 28-year-old man-to-man specialist will start opposite corner Brandon Flowers in Kansas City.
Richard Marshall, CB
The 27-year-old corner moved from the desert to the beach on March 14, signing a three-year deal with Miami after spending one season in Arizona. The versatile defensive back will likely slot in at the nickel, but could also emerge as Miami's starting free safety.
Chad Ochocinco, WR
The former Pro Bowl receiver was released by the Patriots after a career-low 15-catch, 276-yard season. After four days of unemployment, Ochocinco was quickly signed by the Dolphins to a one-year deal. Miami desperately needs capable pass-catchers on the heels of it trade of Brandon Marshall to Chicago last spring. While Ochocinco is stepping out from under the shadows of players like Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker, he also will be catching passes from a quarterback significantly less talented than Tom Brady.
John Carlson, TE
Carlson caught 106 passes for 1,201 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Seahawks. But after a quiet season in 2010 - 31 catches, 318 yards, one TD - Carlson suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder in training camp last August that required season-ending surgery.The Vikings gave him a thorough medical evaluation before signing him and felt comfortable enough to offer him $11 million in guaranteed money. General manager Rick Spielman said the team's medical staff gave Carlson a clean bill of health.
Josh Morgan, WR
Washington owner Dan Snyder isn't letting the NFL's recent announcement that his team will lose $18 million in cap space on average each of the next two years curb his spending. The famously (or should we say infamously?) loose-pocketed Snyder paired Garcon's deal with a contract for fifth-year wideout Josh Morgan, who only played in five games last year due to injury.