Wes Welker is saying so long to Tom Brady and hello to Peyton Manning.
After spending six years with Brady in New England, the Pro Bowl receiver agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal Wednesday to team up with Manning in Denver.
The Welker signing was the highlight of a big day for the Broncos, who once again made a major splash in free agency. Welker will hold an introductory news conference Thursday.
Denver also came to terms on a two-year deal with defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, formerly of Jacksonville, and a one-year contract with linebacker Stewart Bradley, who played with the Cardinals the past two seasons.
Welker's five 100-catch seasons are the most in the NFL. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his past five seasons and was an All-Pro four of the past five years.
Welker caught 118 passes for 1,354 yards and scored six touchdowns last season, helping the Patriotss go 12-4 and make the AFC title game before losing to Baltimore.
He developed quite a rapport with Brady during his six seasons with the Patriots.
The Broncos are banking the same kind of relationship can blossom between their 37-year-old future Hall of Fame quarterback and his newest target, Welker, who is 31.
Lions: Reggie Bush has watched film of the Lions, and he has seen the opposing safeties playing deep and paying extra attention to Calvin Johnson. "It's a running back's dream," Bush said. "We
Bush was introduced Wednesday, part of a big day for the Lions, who also landed free agents Glover Quin and Jason Jones and retained Chris Houston. Those moves should help the defense, and the Lions are hoping Bush can give a boost to an offense that already includes Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Steelers: Bruce Gradkowski is coming home. The Steelers and the free agent quarterback have agreed to a three-year deal that will likely make Gradkowski the primary backup behind starter Ben Roethlisberger.
The 30-year-old Gradkowski is 6-14 in his career as a starter with Oakland, Cleveland and Tampa Bay. He spent the 2011-12 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, appearing in five games. Gradkowski has completed 375 of 709 passes for 4,057 yards with 21 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in 37 career games.
"I'm thrilled to be back home," said Gradkowski, a Pittsburgh native. "I always thought at some point (I'd return) ... I couldn't be happier."
Dolphins: Linebacker Philip Wheeler has signed a $26 million, five-year contract with the Dolphins. The deal includes a $7 million signing bonus and $13 million guaranteed. Wheeler spent his first four NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and played last year for the Raiders, where he had career highs of 109 tackles and three sacks.
Cardinals: The Cardinals addressed one of their significant needs by reaching agreement on a one-year contract with free agent running back Rashard Mendenhall. The agreement follows the team's release of running back Beanie Wells on Monday. The Cardinals also agreed to terms with former Cal linebacker Lorenzo Alexander.
Jaguars: The Jaguars released receiver Laurent Robinson, the latest high-priced player let go as part of the team's rebuilding project.
Chiefs: The Chiefs remained active in free agency, making official a wave of free-agent signings that included veteran cornerback Dunta Robinson and speedy wide receiver Donnie Avery.
"All along, we've said it's an ongoing process," said new Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, who along with coach Andy Reid is trying to rebuild a team that went 2-14 last season.