Bruce Smith and Morten Andersen have both ended costly holdouts. Now it will cost their respective teams plenty to have them back.
Smith agreed to a four-year deal with the Buffalo Bills on Monday that will put him among the NFL's highest paid players. Mortensen did the same with the New Orleans Saints and took a giant step on the salary scale.Smith, who incurred fines totalling $16,000 by holding out for the first four days of training camp, was seeking a deal comparable to the $17 million, four-year deal that Reggie White signed with Green Bay.
"I think there were some steps taken, not only on our behalf, but on the Bills' behalf as well," Smith said. "I was very pleased about that."
The Bills were known to have offered Smith about $3 million a year. However, there was more than just money involved for the All-Pro defensive end.
"I started here in 1985 and I wanted to finish up here," Smith said after coming to terms with the Bills on a four-year deal.
Smith's agent, Brig Owens, was expected to come to the Bills' camp today and finalize a new deal for Smith, one of the leaders of the team's three straight Super Bowl appearances.
Meanwhile, Andersen agreed to a contract with New Orleans reportedly worth $4.2 million over the next four years.
The kicker, who ended an 11-day holdout, was expected to sign after arriving at training camp tonight, team spokesman Neal Gulkis said.
The Saints did not disclose terms of the contract, but a New Orleans television station quoted the NFL players' union as saying Andersen would receive an $800,000 signing bonus and $1 million this year, then $800,000 in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
"In my opinion, it was a very fair and very lucrative deal for me," said Andersen, a six-time Pro Bowl kicker who ranks 17th on the NFL's career scoring list with 1,085 points in 11 seasons.
Defensive lineman Rhett Hall ended a brief holdout with Tampa Bay, leaving the Buccaneers with three unsigned players as training camp formally got under way.
Terms of the agreement were not released by the team, which also signed free agent running back Butch Hadnot.
Pepper Johnson came to camp a week late, $28,000 poorer in fines and ready to walk out if necessary. The veteran linebacker is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $1.2 million this season. He wants to renogotiate and has been upset over a possible move to outside linebacker.
The Cowboys find themselves in a tight spot, with the loss of Alfredo Roberts.
The tight end fractured a foot during a passing drill with the Los Angeles Raiders and will be lost to the Super Bowl champions for at least eight weeks. He was scheduled to undergo surgery today at St. David's Hospital in Austin, Texas.
Roberts, the best blocker in the Cowboys' tight-end alignment, missed last year's playoffs because of knee surgery and appeared fully recovered.
Against the Raiders, he was trying to catch a pass from Jason Garrett with safety Derrick Hoskins defending. He landed awkwardly on his foot and rolled over in pain.
"It's a major concern and it came in an area where we are very thin," coach Jimmy Johnson said. "Alfredo was having a good camp."
Star linebacker Wilber Marshall used his first Houston practice to make an impression on running back Spencer Tillman in a one-on-one drill.
"He ran clean over Spencer," safety Bubba McDowell said. "Everybody was saying, `Yeah, that's the Wilber we wanted."'
Problems with the offensive line worsened when left guard Jeff Davidson went down with a knee injury. It wasn't known when he will return.
Coach Wade Phillips hasn't been happy with the team's pass protection.
"Certainly the line is our No. 1 concern," he said.
Center Ed Cunningham will not need surgery for a stretched knee ligament. He will miss six weeks, possibly returning for the Sept. 5 season-opener at Philadelphia.
Seattle lost rookie wide receiver Terrence Warren for at least 10 days when he limped off the practice field with a right hamstring strain.
Warren has been having an outstanding training camp and has been one of the favorite targets of quarterbacks Dan McGwire and Stan Gelbaugh.