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Wes Welker leaves Patriots to sign with Broncos

Welker, who has five 100-catch seasons, signs a two-year deal for a reported $12 million to catch passes from Peyton Manning instead of Tom Brady. The Patriots respond by signing receiver Danny Amendola.

March 14, 2013|Staff and Wire reports

Wes Welker is saying goodbye 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 deal worth a reported $12 million 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.

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 Arizona Cardinals the last two seasons.

Last year, the Broncos won the high-stakes contest to sign Manning, prompting Broncos boss John Elway to quip, "Plan B? I don't have a Plan B. We're going with Plan A."

Coming off a 13-3 season during which the Broncos looked like Super Bowl contenders before losing to Baltimore in the divisional playoffs, Elway is clearly on the same path this time.

He picked up the league's most productive receiver to play in the slot where Brandon Stokley was last season. Welker's five 100-catch seasons are the most in the NFL. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his last five seasons and was an All-Pro four of the last five years.

Welker, 31, caught 118 passes for 1,354 yards and scored six touchdowns last year, helping the Patriots go 12-4 and make the AFC title game before they also fell to Baltimore. He developed quite a rapport with Brady during his six seasons with the Patriots.


The Patriots moved quickly to replace Welker, agreeing to terms with wide receiver Danny Amendola on a five-year contract, according to ESPN. Amendola's deal is worth $31 million, with $10 million guaranteed. Amendola had 63 receptions for 666 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games for the St. Louis Rams last season.


Running back Reggie Bush is joining the Detroit Lions, part of a big day in which team also landed free agents Glover Quin, a safety, and Jason Jones, a defensive end, and retained cornerback Chris Houston.

Bush, who agreed to a four-year deal, gives Detroit another speedy playmaker for an offense that already includes star receiver Calvin Johnson. He's being brought in to help improve an inconsistent running game. Jahvid Best, a first-round draft pick in 2010, didn't play at all last season, and his future is in doubt because of concussion problems.


Free-agent safety Dashon Goldson signed a $41.25 million, five-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Goldson, who played the last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, receives $8.25 million per year and $22 million in guaranteed money


The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms with offensive guard Andy Levitre (six years, $46.5 million) and running back Shonn Greene (three years, $10 million) and re-signed fullback Quinn Johnson.


Arizona reached contract agreements with five free agents, including quarterback Drew Stanton, who follows new Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians to the desert. Starting free safety Kerry Rhodes, a move that cleared $6 million in salary cap space.

The other additions are running back Rashard Mendenhall, cornerback Jerraud Powers, safety Yeremiah Bell and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. Stanton backed up Andrew Luck last season in Indianapolis, where Arians served first as offensive coordinator, then as interim head coach.


The United States women's soccer team won the Algarve Cup for the ninth time, beating Germany, 2-0, in Faro, Portugal.

Alex Morgan scored both goals in the first half as the Americans won their first significant tournament under Coach Tom Sermanni, who took over in late 2012.

Morgan started the scoring in the 13th minute. Sydney Leroux sent a cross that Germany central defender Josephine Henning tried to head clear. But the ball fell to Morgan just inside the area and she scored with her left foot.

Morgan connected again 12 minutes later. A mix-up between goalkeeper Almuth Schult and her defense let Morgan steal the ball and she rolled a shot into the empty net from the edge of the box.


Injured Lindsey Vonn won a record sixth straight World Cup downhill title without having to show up on the mountain. Fog canceled the race in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and allowed Vonn to retain her title, beating Tina Maze of Slovenia by one point. The title comes five weeks after a season-ended knee injury.

"Omg I won the World Cup Downhill title!!!!! 6 in a row with a bum knee!" Vonn wrote on her Facebook page.

Vonn's downhill trophy gives her a World Cup record 17th crystal globe, overtaking Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell. The 28-year-old American has won four overall titles and 13 in individual disciplines.

Maze dominated the season but lost a historic chance at sweeping the World Cup titles. She only needed to finish in the top 14 to top the downhill standings. But fog hung on the lower slopes all day and forced the International Ski Federation to cancel the men's and women's downhill.

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