2024 NFL free agency tracker: Rumors, news from Thursday – USA TODAY

NFL free agency is in full swing after the start of the new league year on Wednesday, with most of the biggest names on the market already having found their landing spots.
Several pending deals became official on Wednesday, largely putting a bow on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of the pre-free agency negotiating window. But the biggest news was wide receiver Calvin Ridley surprising many by picking the Tennessee Titans, per reports. Entering Thursday, there are still some big names yet to sign: offensive tackle Tyron Smith, wide receiver Mike Williams (who was released Wednesday), defensive end Chase Young, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and more.
USA TODAY Sports will have updates on all the latest deals and buzz throughout the day, so check back often for up-to-the-minute news from our staff and around the USA TODAY Network:
The Kansas City Chiefs‘ 2023 season was often dominated by discourse about their wide receiver room, though it ultimately didn’t cost them given they won Super Bowl 58.
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A lack of trustworthy pass catchers — the Chiefs led the NFL in dropped passes (44) last season — certainly played a role in the Chiefs’ offense sliding from first in points and yards in 2022 to 15th and ninth, respectively, in 2023. So, the Chiefs made a move late Thursday to get quarterback Patrick Mahomes some more help.
Kansas City has agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $11 million with wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.
Jace Evans and Tyler Dragon
The Los Angeles Chargers are going to have a new wide receiving corps this season.
A day after the Chargers released wide receiver Mike Williams, the team decided to ship star wideout Keenan Allen to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a fourth-round pick, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss the deal.
Allen joins a Chicago receiving corps that also includes DJ Moore. The Bears own the No. 1 overall pick and are widely expected to draft USC QB Caleb Williams.
Tyler Dragon
AJ Dillon is expected to re-sign with the Green Bay Packers. NFL Network reported the Packers are using a four-year qualifying offer to sign Dillon, a low-risk deal that protects the team if Dillon doesn’t crack the initial 53-man roster.
Under the four-year qualifying offer, teams can designate a player (or a combination of two players) to be signed and receive the benefit and reduce his (or their) base salary for cap purposes by up to $1.45 million. The rule also limits the player’s signing bonus to $167,500 and the player’s base salary cannot be more than $1.45 million (for 2024) over the applicable minimum salary for the player’s service time. In Dillon’s case, the fifth-year veteran minimum in 2024 is $1.125 million.
If the Packers cut Dillon before the season, they’ll take a $167,000 hit on their salary cap. Dillon’s cap number will be around $1.2 million.
It’s essentially a prove-it deal for Dillon, the Packers second-round draft pick in 2020. The Packers officially signed new starting running back Josh Jacobs on Thursday. What general manager Brian Gutekunst does in this spring’s draft ultimately will determine Dillon’s chances of making the roster in the fall.
After a promising 2021 replacing Jamaal Williams as backup behind Aaron Jones, Dillon has had an underwhelming past couple of seasons. Dillon rushed for 803 yards and five touchdowns in his second NFL season, but his production has declined the past two years. So has his yards per carry, from 4.3 in 2021 to 4.1 in 2022 to 3.4 last fall.
Dillon’s 613 yards on 178 carries in 15 games last season likely depressed his value on the open market, making a reunion with the Packers more appealing, even on the four-year qualifying offer. It’s not an ideal situation for Dillon, signing as a free agent for almost no guaranteed money, but it gives him a chance to rebuild his value without the Packers accepting any risk if he doesn’t.
Ryan Wood, Green Bay Press-Gazette
The Buffalo Bills waited a day to let the initial burst of free agency settle, and then they made their first notable signing of 2024, WR Curtis Samuel, formerly of the Washington Commanders.
The deal is for three years and worth up to $24 million ($15 million guaranteed), per reports, and it could climb to $30 million through incentives – a large expenditure for a team that remains hard against the NFL’s salary cap.
In three years with Washington, Samuel caught 132 passes for 1,296 yards and eight TDs. The 5-11, 195-pounder will only be 28 when the season starts. Provided he’s healthy, Samuel should be a nice complement to Stefon Diggs and Khalil Shakir and could also take pressure off a potential wideout the Bills may draft, allowing a rookie to slowly integrate into the offense behind three trusted veterans.
Sal Maiorana, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
The Philadelphia Eagles continue to invest in positions they normally don’t.
Days after signing RB Saquon Barkley to a three-year, $37.8 million pact, GM Howie Roseman is putting some cash into his linebacking corps. Per multiple reports, ILB Devin White is joining the team on a one-year deal worth up to $7.5 million. White, the fifth overall pick of the 2019 draft and a 2021 Pro Bowler, was an instrumental part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2020 run to the Super Bowl title. However he was removed from the starting lineup late in the 2023 campaign amid performance issues.
White, 26, is likely to start in Philly alongside Nakobe Dean but had better stay on his keys for new DC Vic Fangio.
On the heels of trading OLB Brian Burns to the New York Giants earlier this week, the Carolina Panthers have found a new edge rusher.
The team has reached a deal with former Minnesota Vikings OLB D.J. Wonnum, 26. Per reports, it’s for two years and worth $14.5 million. It’s a bit of a homecoming for Wonnum, who played collegiately for South Carolina.
He had 21 pressures for the Vikes in 2023 and tied his career high with eight sacks.
Joe Mixon has a new team. And new money.
According to ESPN, Mixon, who was traded from the Cincinnati Bengals to the Houston Texans this week, has agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract extension with $13 million in guarantees. The deal’s $9 million annual average and total value rank seventh at the position league-wide.
Mixon, 27, had 1,410 yards and 12 TDs from scrimmage in 2023 for Cincy.
The Detroit Lions had the NFL’s second-ranked rush defense last season, and there’s reason to believe they’ll be even better in 2024.
The Lions signed nose tackle D.J. Reader to a two-year deal on Thursday, NFL Network reported, the fourth significant addition they’ve made to their defense this offseason.
At 6-3 and 335 pounds, Reader was considered one of the best run stoppers available in free agency and should start next to Alim McNeill in the middle of the Lions defensive line this fall.
He had 34 tackles and one sack last season, but finished the year on injured reserve with a torn right quad tendon. He also tore his left quad in 2020, and missed six games with a knee injury in 2022.
The Lions hosted Reader, who turns 30 in July, on a free agent visit and for a physical Thursday. He told Cincinnati reporters after the season last year’s quad injury was not as bad as the one he suffered in 2020, which required a six-month rehab.
– Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
The Washington Commanders have cleared the way for the team to take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in April’s NFL draft.
The team is trading former starting quarterback Sam Howell to the Seattle Seahawks, per multiple reports. The Seahawks will receive Howell as well as fourth- and sixth-round picks, while the Commanders will get third- and fifth-round picks.
Howell stepped in as the Commanders’ starter last season after the 2022 fifth-round pick made just one start as a rookie. The season turned out to be a slog, with Howell leading the NFL in interceptions (21), sacks taken (65) and pass attempts (612). Washington lost the final eight games of a 4-13 campaign, and coach Ron Rivera was dismissed.
With a new regime led by Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury coming in, the Commanders already looked primed to take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in the draft. The team has most commonly been linked to Drake Maye – who was Howell’s successor at North Carolina – and Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels.
On Tuesday, Washington agreed to a one-year deal with quarterback Marcus Mariota, positioning him to take over the backup role.
In Seattle, Howell will likely slide in as the No. 2 behind incumbent starter Geno Smith. Backup Drew Lock left to join the New York Giants in free agency, leaving no other signal-callers on the roster.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are adding some heft to their defensive front.
Former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead is signing with the team on a three-year, $51 million contract, according to multiple reports.
Armstead, 30, is reunited with Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke, who selected the defensive lineman for the 49ers in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft.
Armstead enjoyed a breakout 2019 campaign in which he recorded 10 sacks. But after signing a five-year, $85 million contract extension the following offseason, he struggled to recapture that form and only recorded five sacks in the last two seasons. He was cut by the 49ers this week after the two sides were unable to come to an agreement on a restructured contract.
The Miami Dolphins have lost several key pieces in free agency, including defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, offensive guard Robert Hunt and outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel. On Thursday, however, Mike McDaniel and Co. brought on another key piece in the reloading effort for the defense.
Cornerback Kendall Fuller agreed to a two-year, $16.5 million contract, according to multiple reports.
Fuller, 29, was one of the few consistent pieces on a Washington Commanders defense that ranked last in pass defense with 262.2 yards allowed per game.
Fuller will join a defense that already features standout cornerback Jalen Ramsey and in recent days added linebacker Jordyn Brooks, safety Jordan Poyer and pass rusher Shaquil Barrett.
The move was met with approval from Tyreek Hill, who was Fuller’s former teammate on the Kansas City Chiefs.
In what has been a quiet start to free agency for the Dallas Cowboys, the team is bringing back a key piece of its secondary.
Cornerback Jourdan Lewis is re-signing on a one-year deal with the team, according to multiple reports.
Lewis, 29, looks poised to reclaim his role in the slot, with breakout defender DaRon Bland teaming with Trevon Diggs on the outside as the latter recovers from a torn ACL. That could, however, leave Stephon Gilmore to look elsewhere in free agency.
Desmond Ridder’s run with the Atlanta Falcons is officially over.
The team is trading the former starting quarterback to the Arizona Cardinals, who will send back wide receiver Rondale Moore, according to multiple reports.
With new coach Raheem Morris in and Kirk Cousins taking over as the starting signal-caller, Ridder was expendable for a team that returns Taylor Heinicke as its backup quarterback. The 2022 third-round pick was Arthur Smith’s choice to lead the team into last season, but he was responsible for 16 turnovers, including six in the red zone. Ridder was benched twice during the season, including for good down the stretch when Heinicke took over in December.
In Arizona, he’s set to compete with Clayton Tune to be Kyler Murray’s backup.
Moore, 23, has been a spot contributor for the Cardinals but struggled to provide any sort of consistency since arriving as a second-round draft pick out of Purdue in 2021. He has yet to reach 450 receiving yards in a single season.
After their most successful season of the Super Bowl era (since 1966), the Detroit Lions announced contract extensions for head coach Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes through the 2027 season.
“We are thrilled to have Brad and Dan under contract for the next four seasons,” team owner Sheila Hamp said in a statement. “They have been the driving force behind the rebuild of our football team and the success that we have enjoyed. The continuity they provide for our football program will continue to be the key to our future success on the field.”
The Lions won the NFC North for the first time in 2023 before advancing to the NFC championship game for just the second time. They remain one of four teams to never reach a Super Bowl but are fresh off winning two games in the same postseason for the first time.
There was a question as to whether or not the Cleveland Browns were going to do anything else with their defensive tackle group after an initial wave of deals that brought back Maurice Hurst II and Shelby Harris. The answer turned out to be, yes.
Cleveland agreed to terms on a one-year deal with veteran defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson, a league source told the Akron Beacon Journal. He spent this past season playing for the New York Jets.
Jefferson would, in theory, be the replacement for the departed Jordan Elliott in the rotation. Elliott, a 2020 third-round pick of the Browns who started 31 of the last 34 regular-season games, agreed to a free-agent deal with the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday.
Chris Easterling, Akron Beacon Journal
The Cincinnati Bengals are turning to a familiar figure for help in the secondary.
Safety Vonn Bell is signing a one-year, $6 million deal with the Bengals, according to multiple reports.
Bell, 29, played for the Carolina Panthers last year but started for the Bengals from 2020-22, recording four interceptions in his final season with the team.
Along with fellow free-agent safety Geno Stone, he provides a fresh look on the back end of the Bengals’ defense.
In addition to Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins, the Tennessee Titans are reinvesting in another trusted target.
Per NFL Network, veteran WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine will return for a fifth season in Nashville. The undrafted free agent from Indiana, who projects as the No. 4 target (also behind Treylon Burks), has 94 grabs for 1,276 yards and 10 TDs in his NFL career to date.
INDIANAPOLIS – Michael Pittman Jr. dreamed of reaching free agency, of getting to see all of his potential suitors line up and weigh them against the situation he enjoyed in Indianapolis. But he knew that was never going to happen.
Yet unlike the last time a Colts star player was faced with the potential of the franchise tag, Pittman had faith this would all work out. He sensed the moment the Colts were in with a developing Anthony Richardson and a team that just went 9-8. He’d kept the dialogue open with general manager Chris Ballard. He wanted the Colts to identify him as a true foundational player, and that’s what they did with a contract that will pay him $70 million over three seasons and make him the eighth-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL.
“I kind of knew the whole time that this was going to happen,” Pittman said.
He wore a navy blue suit to sign his new deal, his first veteran contract as an NFL player.
“I think It’s just fulfilling to know that you are the guy they drafted you to be,” he said.
Nate Atkins, Indianapolis Star
With uncertainty surrounding DJ Reader’s future, the Cincinnati Bengals added one of the best free agents available at defensive tackle in Sheldon Rankins.
The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Kelsey Conway confirmed a two-year deal worth $26 million for Rankins, a former first-round draft pick who has played eight seasons in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints, New York Jets and Houston Texans.
Rankins is familiar to Bengals fans because he wreaked havoc during the Bengals’ heartbreaking loss to Houston last November, including three sacks of Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow.
Dave Clark, Cincinnati Enquirer


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