Miami gets Williams, but can't gain Kreutz in active trading da
Saturday, March 9, 2002
The Miami Dolphins got their man. But just one of them.
The Dolphins finally completed the trade that will bring them former Heisman winner Ricky Williams, who never hit it off in New Orleans despite averaging more than 1,000 yards a season.
But Olin Kreutz, the free agent center the Dolphins were arduously pursuing, re-signed with Chicago, leaving Miami to look elsewhere in an effort to build up their offensive line.
Williams, the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner, gives Miami its best running back since the 1970s, when Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris led the team to two Super Bowl victories. But the former Texas star was deemed expendable by New Orleans because of his sometimes non-conformist behavior and because the Saints drafted Deuce McAllister in the first round last season.
"The biggest plus for me is I'm coming into a situation where they already have a good team. They're just adding a good player," Williams said. "I'm going to be surrounded with talent. I'm not going to feel like it's my job to win games. I just have to do my part."
A player with far deeper problems was also on the move Friday -- wide receiver Terry Glenn, who was dealt from New England to Green Bay. Glenn missed most of last season after being suspended for four games for a substance abuse violation, then because of differences with coach Bill Belichick.
Trading for draft picks
The Packers gave the Patriots a fourth-round pick in the 2002 draft, plus a pick next year that will depend on Glenn's performance.
"I'm looking forward to being a part of this storied tradition that so many football fans follow with such incredible passion," Glenn said in a statement. "To play for Coach (Mike) Sherman and in the same offense with Brett Favre is a great opportunity."
The Packers also re-signed offensive guard Mike Wahle, an unrestricted free agent who started every game last season. With Wahle, the Packers will have their entire offensive line from last season back.
In another move, cornerback Aaron Beasley, cut by Jacksonville for cap reasons, signed with the Jets. New York lost both of last year's starting cornerbacks, Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman, to Houston in the expansion draft.
The Williams trade brought to the Saints some of the picks they lost when former coach Mike Ditka traded away the team's entire 1999 draft to get Williams. Miami traded a first-round pick in 2002 and a third-round pick in 2003 that could become a first-rounder depending on how Williams performs.
The teams also swapped fourth-round selections in next month's draft.
Hopeful for Kreutz
The Dolphins hoped that Kreutz, who was voted to the Pro Bowl last season, would be blocking for Williams. But after spending two days in Miami, he returned to Chicago and re-signed with the Bears for a deal that included a $7 million signing bonus.
Miami also dealt running back J.J. Johnson to Cleveland for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2004, and agreed to terms with injury-plagued guard Leon Searcy on a one-year, $750,000 contract.
The Packers, meanwhile, hope Glenn, gives Favre the speed receiver he's been lacking.
Glenn set an NFL rookie record with 90 catches in 1996 and made the Pro Bowl in 1999, when he caught 69 passes for 1,147 yards and four touchdowns. He is fifth on the Patriots' career receiving list with 4,669 yards and fourth in catches with 329.
In other free agency moves Friday:
Buffalo re-signed center Bill Conaty, who became a starter last season after four years as a backup. He played all 16 games last season despite separating his shoulder on Oct. 18.
Tampa Bay's Warrick Dunn, who wants to become an every-down back, worked out with Philadelphia. He left without signing a contract, noting that Jon Gruden, the Bucs' new coach, had made "a great sales pitch" to get him back.
Fullback Fred Beasley agreed to a four-year, $6.075 million contract to remain with the San Francisco 49ers. They have retained two of their four key free agents after signing Beasley and center Jeremy Newberry.