Former Patriot Wes Welker will be catching passes from Denver’s Peyton Manning this season. (Associated Press)
Former Patriot Wes Welker will be catching passes from Denver’s Peyton Manning this season. (Associated Press)

Welker catches on with the Broncos

Wes Welker sure knows how to pick his quarterbacks.

The star receiver, Tom Brady’s favorite target, is leaving New England and heading to Denver, where he’ll join Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

Also getting new deals were Reggie Bush in Detroit, Dashon Goldson in Tampa Bay, and even Ray Lewis – with ESPN.

Day 2 of the NFL’s free agency frenzy was highlighted by Welker grabbing a two-year deal with the Broncos, who had the AFC’s best regular-season record last year. He gives Manning one of the steadiest targets the four-time league MVP ever has had.

Denver added defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, too.

Bush agreed to a four-year deal and could fill a huge hole at running back. Bush adds to a strong offense led by record-setting All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson. The Lions also landed safety Glover Quin and defensive end Jason Jones and retained cornerback Chris Houston.

All-Pro safety Goldson gets a five-year contract worth $41.25 million. He receives $8.25 million per year and $22 million in guaranteed money. He spent the past two seasons on one-year contracts with the 49ers, including last year with the franchise tag for $6.2 million.

Cleveland remained active, agreeing to terms with linebacker Quentin Groves and tackle Desmond Bryant to further bolster a defense that added Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger hours after free agency began.

ESPN announced Lewis, who retired after 17 seasons with Ravens, will be a studio analyst.

Baltimore signed defensive lineman Chris Canty, offensive lineman Ramon Harewood and running back Damien Berry.

Kansas City added cornerback Dunta Robinson, receiver Donnie Avery and offensive lineman Bryan Mattison to the three free agents it signed the previous day when the marketplace opened.

Also Wednesday:

• Chicago released tight end Kellen Davis after signing Martellus Bennett away from the Giants on Tuesday to replace him.

• The Giants signed 11-year veteran place kicker Josh Brown, who joins former Cowboys kicker David Buehler on the roster and apparently indicating free agent Lawrence Tynes won’t be back.

• Pittsburgh found its backup to QB Ben Roethlisberger in a Steel City native, Bruce Gradkowski. The 30-year-old Gradkowski is 6-14 as a starter with Oakland, Cleveland and Tampa Bay.

• Arizona, in dire need of help in the backfield, agreed on a one-year contract with former Steelers starter Rashard Mendenhall.


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