The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 1:00 am

NFL free agency

Patriots cut Gostkowski, franchise's scoring leader

Associated Press

BOSTON – The Patriots said goodbye Monday to another longtime staple of their two-decade run of championships, releasing kicker and franchise leading scorer Stephen Gostkowski.

The three-time Super Bowl champion had spent his entire 14-year career in New England.

Drafted in 2006, Gostkowski had long passed Adam Vinatieri as the Patriots' leading scorer with 1,775 points. Only Tom Brady (41), Vinatieri (32) and Jerry Rice (29) have played in more playoff games. Gostkowski's 205 postseason points are second to the 238 points by Vinatieri.

Gostkowski, 36, started the first four games of 2019 but struggled, missing a career-high four extra points after not missing more than three in any of his previous 13 NFL seasons. He was placed on injured reserve in October and underwent season-ending hip surgery.

Viniatieri cemented his place in New England history by kicking two winning field goals in the Super Bowl before leaving for the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent in 2006.

Gostkowski did the same with his consistency, becoming one of the NFL's most dependable kickers during his Patriots tenure. A two-time All-Pro, he missed only one extra point in his first 10 years in the league and appeared in every game for New England from 2011 through 2018.

Panthers add QB, linebacker

A person familiar with the situation says Carolina has agreed to terms on contracts with former XFL quarterback P.J. Walker of the Houston Roughnecks and former Raiders linebacker Tahir Whitehead. The person says Walker agreed to a two-year contract and Whitehead will get a one-year deal.

The decision to add Walker prompted the Panthers to trade Kyle Allen to Washington, according to a person with knowledge of the move. The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because that deal had not been announced. Allen started 12 games last season for the Panthers and went 5-7 as a starter with 23 turnovers and 17 touchdown passes. Allen, 24, has thrown for 3,588 yards, 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 15 NFL games in 2018 and 2019, all with the Panthers. He became their starter last season when Cam Newton got hurt.

Walker joins the Panthers on the first day that XFL players were allowed to sign with NFL teams.

Cowboys center Frederick retires

Dallas center Travis Frederick is retiring from the NFL at 29, the 2016 All-Pro saying he “could no longer perform at my highest level” after returning from a neurological disorder that sidelined him for a season.

Frederick made the announcement on Twitter, a surprising development for a team that invested heavily in its offensive line through the draft and now finds itself trying to replace one of the most important pieces.

A first-round pick seven years ago, Frederick missed all of 2018 after getting diagnosed with Guillian-Barre syndrome during training camp.

Extra points

A person familiar with the deals says Atlanta has reached agreements with wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, a former first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, and guard Justin McCray. The Falcons also have re-signed cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson to a one-year deal. ... The Los Angeles Rams unveiled a new logo and some familiar new colors ahead of a milestone season. The Rams' primary colors are royal blue and yellow again after the franchise's rebranding announcement. The Rams' new primary logo features an “LA” with a ram's horn curved around the letters, while a new secondary logo is a modern update of the classic ram's head logo occasionally used by the team in previous decades. ... Arizona agreed to terms on one-year contracts for safety Chris Banjo and defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard. ... The New York Jets and linebacker James Burgess agreed to terms on a one-year deal, agent Drew Rosenhaus told The Associated Press. ... The New York Giants reached agreements on one-year contracts with running back Dion Lewis and wide receiver Corey Coleman. Lewis spent the past two seasons with Tennessee. He was released this month in a salary-cap move. Coleman missed all of 2019 with a knee injury sustained in training camp. ... San Francisco agreed to a one-year contract with defensive end Kerry Hyder.

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