Chargers land LT Okung to protect Rivers’ blind side

The Latest on NFL free agency (all times Eastern):

2:55 p.m.

The Los Angeles Chargers have landed Russell Okung, the most prominent free-agent left tackle still on the market.

The Chargers announced a four-year deal for Okung, who spent last season with the Denver Broncos after playing his first six seasons in Seattle.

Okung, who struggled in Denver, has excelled in run blocking and pass protection, and he appeared in back-to-back Super Bowls with the Seahawks. His arrival could jump-start the Chargers’ running game for Melvin Gordon.

King Dunlap was solid as the Chargers’ starting left tackle in recent years, but he missed 13 games over the past two seasons with injuries. Okung has dealt with injuries in the past, but played all 16 games for Denver last season.

Los Angeles released offensive tackle D.J. Fluker earlier in the week, but the Chargers may have found a cornerstone for their line and the new protector of Philip Rivers’ blind side if Okung plays at the level he displayed in Seattle.

—Greg Beacham reporting from Los Angeles

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2:54 p.m.

The Rams released center Tim Barnes, tight end Lance Kendricks, defensive lineman Eugene Sims and running back Tre Mason.

The team saves about $16 million in salary cap room with the moves, clearing more room for its two big free-agent signees: left tackle Andrew Whitworth and receiver Robert Woods.

Barnes had been the Rams’ starting center for the past two years, but the Los Angeles offensive line struggled mightily.

Kendricks had a career-high 50 catches for 499 yards last season. He had spent his entire six-year career with the Rams.

Sims was a steady reserve on the defensive line, getting 2 1/2 sacks.

Mason didn’t play last year after an offseason arrest.

—Greg Beacham reporting from Thousand Oaks, California.

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2:45 p.m.

A person familiar with the negotiations says the Carolina Panthers have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent defensive end Julius Peppers, the team’s top pick in the 2002 draft and all-time sacks leader.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because the move can’t officially be announced until later in the day.

Peppers’ agent, Carl Carey, on Friday tweeted a picture of Peppers when he was drafted No. 2 overall by Carolina in 2002 with the words “Headed home.”

The 37-year-old Peppers has 143 ½ sacks during 15 NFL seasons, including 7 ½ last season for the Green Bay Packers. Peppers played eight seasons for the Panthers and was selected All-Pro twice during that span.

—Steve Reed reporting Charlotte, North Carolina

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2:25 p.m.

Tight end Rhett Ellison, who also can be used as an H-back and fullback, has joined the New York Giants.

Ellison spent the last five seasons with Minnesota. He is the second target for Eli Manning that the Giants added this week, signing wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Wednesday.

“Rhett is a versatile, hardnosed player who we feel is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “He also has good hands and is a very capable receiver in the pass game.”

Ellison, whose father, Riki, won three Super Bowls with San Francisco, has played in 73 regular-season games with 41 starts. He caught 51 passes for 515 yards, with a long reception of 41 yards, and three touchdowns, while mostly being used for his blocking.

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2:20 p.m.

The Detroit Lions added free agent defensive end Cornelius Washington.

Washington played 15 games for Chicago last season, making two starts.

The Lions also confirmed the signings of offensive tackle Ricky Wagner and defensive tackle Akeem Spence earlier Friday.

—Noah Trister reporting from Detroit

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1:20 p.m.

The Indianapolis Colts have cut starting cornerback Patrick Robinson.

The move comes a day after the start of free agency and saves the Colts $2.5 million.

Injuries limited Robinson to seven games and 26 tackles in 2016, his only season in Indianapolis.

The 5-foot-11, 191-pound Robinson played his first five NFL seasons in New Orleans before joining San Diego in 2015. He has 260 tackles, 10 interceptions and one sack in his pro career.

— Michael Marot reporting from Indianapolis

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1:05 p.m.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed four free agents, including three defensive starters, to contracts totaling more than $150 million.

Cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive end Calais Campbell, safety Barry Church and backup linebacker Lerentee McCray signed new deals.

Bouye, Campbell and Church are significant additions to a defense that ranked sixth in the NFL last season.

The 25-year-old Bouye replaces Prince Amukamara and will play opposite budding star Jalen Ramsey, giving the Jaguars one of the league’s top coverage tandems. The 30-year-old Campbell replaces Jared Odrick, who was released last month, and is expected to upgrade the team’s pass rush. The 29-year-old Church replaces Johnathan Cyprien, a second-round draft pick in 2013, and is expected to be a versatile newcomer to a talented secondary.

— Mark Long reporting from Jacksonville, Florida

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12:55 p.m.

A person familiar with the decision says the Cleveland Browns are releasing quarterback Robert Griffin III after one injury-marred season.

Speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the move, the person says Griffin is being let go a day before he would have been due a $750,000 roster bonus.

After he was waived by Washington, Griffin signed with the Browns last March hoping to revive his career. However, the 27-year-old broke his right shoulder in the season opener and missed 11 games.

Griffin returned late in the year and led the Browns to their only win.

Griffin’s departure comes a day after the Browns acquired Brock Osweiler in a trade with Houston. Osweiler, though, is not viewed as Cleveland’s long-term answer at quarterback.

The Browns have the assets to make another deal for a QB or take one high in this year’s draft.

— Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland

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12:50 p.m.

The Minnesota Vikings have signed former Detroit Lions offensive tackle Riley Reiff.

The five-year veteran started 69 games for the Lions, including 48 at left tackle and 14 at right tackle.

Adding the former first-round draft choice was a huge priority for the Vikings, who finished a disappointing 8-8 last season thanks in large part to one of the worst offensive lines in the league. It is not immediately clear if Reiff will play on the left or the right side in Minnesota because the Vikings are continuing to look at bringing in additional help on the line.

Reiff grew up in South Dakota and played in college at Iowa.

— Jon Krawczynski reporting from Minneapolis

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11:50 a.m.

The Arizona Cardinals and outside linebacker Chandler Jones have agreed to a five-year contract.

The agreement comes after the Cardinals placed the franchise tag on Jones to prevent him from becoming a free agent.

The Cardinals acquired Jones in a trade with New England before last season, and general manager Steve Keim had said all along that the team would sign the player to a long-term contract.

Jones had 11 sacks last season with the Cardinals, along with four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss. He had 12½ sacks for the Patriots in 2015, making him one of three players with double-digit sacks in each of the past two seasons.

— Bob Baum reporting from Tempe, Arizona

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11:40 a.m.

Kirk Cousins’ agent says the Washington Redskins’ quarterback has signed his contract for the exclusive franchise tag.

Mike McCartney tweeted the news on Friday morning, 10 days after the team placed the tag on Cousins, guaranteeing him a salary of about $24 million for the 2017 season.

Cousins made nearly $20 million last season under a tag.

The Redskins have until July 15 to try to work out a long-term deal with their starting QB. They also could trade Cousins.

Last season, Cousins broke his own franchise record for passing yards, nearly eclipsing 5,000, and set another team mark with more than 400 completions, throwing for 25 TDs and 12 interceptions with a completion percentage of 67.

The Redskins lost four of their last six games — including 19-10 at home against the division rival New York Giants in the regular-season finale, a defeat sealed by Cousins’ late interception — to end up 8-7-1 and miss the playoffs.

— Howard Fendrich reporting from Washington

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11:20 a.m.

The Tennessee Titans have continued the reconstruction of their secondary by signing safeties Johnathan Cyprien and Brynden Trawick.

Both signings were announced Friday. And Neil Schwartz, the agent for cornerback Logan Ryan, tweeted Thursday night that his client had signed with the Titans.

Cyprien has 442 career tackles in four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, including a career-high 126 last season. Titans general manager Jon Robinson says in a statement that Cyprien is “an instinctive player, good blitzer, heavy hitter.”

Trawick led the Oakland Raiders with 14 special-teams tackles last season and had nine special-teams stops for the Baltimore Ravens in 2015. Robinson says “he will help us in the kicking game and will be a good role player for us on defense.”

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11 a.m.

The Detroit Lions have signed a pair of unrestricted free agents: offensive tackle Rick Wagner and defensive lineman Akeem Spence.

Wagner has spent his first four NFL seasons in Baltimore and made 14 starts last year for the Ravens.

Spence spent the past four seasons with Tampa Bay and played in all 16 games last year, including four starts.

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10:50 a.m.

A day after firing GM Scot McCloughan, the Washington Redskins have announced the signings of three defensive free agents: linemen Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain and safety D.J. Swearinger.

The 6-foot-3, 310-pound McGee started only nine games and had 2.5 sacks — both career highs — for the Oakland Raiders. He has played in 51 NFL games, making 18 starts.

McClain, also listed at just over 300 pounds, was with the Dallas Cowboys last season, getting 2.5 sacks in a career-best 15 starts. He has appeared in 62 career games, with 27 starts, for four teams.

Swearinger has six interceptions in four seasons with three clubs. He started the final 12 games of last season for the Arizona Cardinals, picking off three passes.

After going 8-7-1 and missing the playoffs with a defense that ranked 28th in the league, the Redskins fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry and have set about adding new players via free agency.

McCloughan’s departure, two years into his four-year contract, was announced Thursday, the day free agency opened. The Redskins did not give a reason for firing him or announce a replacement as GM.

— Howard Fendrich reporting from Washington

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10:40 a.m.

The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed on a three-year contract with offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski.

The deal on Friday comes a day after Philadelphia added wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith and right guard Chance Warmack.

Wisniewski started six games for the Eagles at left guard last year after starting 77 games at center in his first five seasons playing for Oakland and Jacksonville.

— Rob Maaddi reporting from Clearwater, Florida

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