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Plummer, Broncos Agree to Contract

March 06, 2003|From Associated Press

Jake Plummer agreed to a seven-year contract with Denver on Wednesday, giving the Broncos an experienced quarterback to replace Brian Griese.

The Broncos also agreed to terms with defensive tackle Daryl Gardener, who played for Washington last season after spending his first six years with Miami.

Plummer, 28, spent his first six seasons with Arizona after being chosen by the Cardinals in the second round of the 1997 draft. He will earn a little more than $40 million in the deal.

Plummer's departure from Arizona had been expected after a subpar 2002 season in which he had a 65.7 passer rating, near the bottom of the league.

"He's played a number of years in the league, and from that experience he has gained some perspective on what his priorities are in life," said David Dunn, Plummer's agent. "It was a very difficult decision between Chicago, Arizona and Denver, but at the end of the day, the coaching staff, the history of winning and the offensive scheme really impressed him in Denver."

In 1998, Plummer led the Cardinals to their first playoff victory since 1947, engineering several late-game comebacks to get Arizona into the postseason for the first time since 1982.

Dunn said working with Coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was a strong selling point for Plummer.

Gardener is expected to fill the hole left by Chester McGlockton, released by the Broncos on Feb. 25.

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Wide receiver David Boston, a favorite target of Plummer's in Arizona, agreed to a seven-year contract with San Diego.

Although there were questions about his health and off-field trouble, Boston is believed to have received a deal worth more than $6 million a year for the first four years.

Charger Coach Marty Schottenheimer said he was told by the NFL that Boston will not be suspended for his arrest in the Phoenix area last March for driving under the influence of drugs.

Police said Boston tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed that Boston has been dealt with and there will be no suspension.

Aiello would not say whether Boston had been fined.

Boston, who spent his first four seasons with the Cardinals where he caught 241 passes for 3,739 yards and 18 touchdowns, replaces Curtis Conway as the Chargers' No. 1 receiver. Conway was released in a salary cap move last week.

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The Carolina Panthers shored up their quarterback corps, re-signing Rodney Peete and adding former New Orleans backup Jake Delhomme.

Delhomme, who agreed to a two-year deal worth $4 million, spent the last five seasons with the Saints. He will compete for the starting job against Peete, who agreed to a three-year extension worth $4 million.

Delhomme's signing drops Chris Weinke to third on the depth chart with an unclear future in Carolina.

Also Wednesday, the Panthers released running back Lamar Smith, three months after he was put on paid leave after his drunk-driving arrest.

Smith started 11 games for the Panthers in 2002 and led the team with 737 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in 209 carries.

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Defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt signed a six-year, $25-million contract with the Green Bay Packers.

Hunt's signing enabled the team to remove the transition designation that it assigned to him Feb. 20 to retain his rights while contract negotiations continued.

The Packers targeted Hunt as their top off-season signing priority after the fourth-year pro had an outstanding season last year, his first as a starter.

Hunt moved into the starting lineup after the release last summer of Santana Dotson, and he led all defensive linemen with 48 tackles.

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The New England Patriots re-signed free-agent defensive lineman Rick Lyle and safety Je'Rod Cherry. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Lyle, 32, joined the Patriots last year as an unrestricted free agent from the New York Jets. He appeared in 13 games, started two, and was credited with 20 tackles.

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Jacksonville re-signed wide receiver Kevin Lockett to a one-year contract.... Pittsburgh signed free-agent linebacker Clint Kriewaldt, who was with Detroit last season, to a three-year contract.... Detroit re-signed defensive tackle Jared DeVries to a three-year deal.

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