ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After spending six seasons with Tom Brady in New England, two-time All-Pro receiver Wes Welker signed with Denver and Peyton Manning on Wednesday.
The deal is for two years and $12 million. The Pats offered two years, $10 million, profootballtalk.com reported.
Denver signed Manning last offseason and went 13-3, falling to the Ravens in overtime in the AFC division playoffs. Now it gets the league's most productive receiver. Welker's five 100-catch seasons are the most in NFL history. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his past five seasons and was All-Pro four of the past five seasons.
"When you look at Wes in the middle of the field, you can't cover him," Broncos vice president John Elway said. "He does such a tremendous job of getting open, finding seams in zones, beating man-to-man coverage."
Welker, 31, who was unavailable for comment, caught 118 passes for 1,354 yards and six touchdowns last season as the Patriots went 12-4 and made the AFC title game before also falling to the Ravens.
"Any time you can take a player from a team you have to compete against, it helps, especially the caliber of Wes Welker," Elway said. "New England is there year in and year out. And that's a team we have to beat to get where we want to get."
More Broncos: Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed a one-year deal the Denver Post reported is for $5 million. He had three interceptions for the Eagles last season.
Pats sign Welker's replacement: Soon after losing Welker, New England signed receiver Danny Amendola to a five-year deal worth $31 million ($10 million guaranteed), the NFL Network and profootballtalk.com reported. In 11 games for the Rams last season, his fourth in the league, Amendola, 27, caught 64 passes for 666 yards and three touchdowns. His best season came in 2010, when he caught 85 passes for 689 yards and three touchdowns. He missed five games last season with a broken collarbone and 15 in 2011 with a dislocated elbow.
Lions grab Bush
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Lions signed running back Reggie Bush to a four-year deal worth $16 million ($5 million guaranteed). Bush said he has watched video of Detroit and seen opposing safeties playing deep because of star receiver Calvin Johnson.
"It's a running back's dream," said Bush, who rushed for 986 yards for the Dolphins last season and 1,086 in 2011. "We have to be able to run the ball in that situation. One of the reasons I wanted to come here is to be able to bring a balanced attack."
Detroit went 4-12 last season despite Johnson's league-record 1,964 receiving yards, in part because it had only four runs of 20 or more yards, tied for fewest in the league.
"The thing that was important to us was not just the talent of Reggie Bush but also the way those talents complemented the other players we have on offense," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. "That was really the basis of our interest in Reggie."
Another Raven gone: Baltimore released starting strong safety Bernard Pollard, saving $3.25 million on the salary cap. In 2012 he had 71 tackles and an interception despite playing much of the season with six broken ribs. He is the fifth player to leave the Super Bowl champions over the past two weeks.The others are guard Bobbie Williams, receiver Anquan Boldin, and linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe.
Another Raven leaving? Longtime Baltimore safety Ed Reed, 34, will visit the Texans today, the Houston Chronicle and Baltimore Sun reported.
Bears: General manager Phil Emery said he hopes to re-sign four-time All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher. Urlacher, an unrestricted free agent, turns 35 in May. Emery said there are salary cap concerns after Tuesday's signings of left tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett.
Cowboys: Defensive tackle Marcus Spears will be released, the team said. The move will come June 1, which will allow him to count less against the salary cap. Spears, who turned 30 last week, has 314 tackles over eight seasons.
49ers: With Dashon Golden lost to the Bucs, the team met with safety Charles Woodson, 36, a three-time All-Pro at cornerback, his agent said. The Packers released him at the end of last season.