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Star QBs on the move

Miami acquires Culpepper; Brees signs with Saints

Daunte Culpepper got his wish: His up-and-down tenure in Minnesota is over.

The Vikings agreed to trade the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round draft pick yesterday, less than a week after Culpepper -- who is still rehabbing his injured right knee -- said he wanted out.

The move marked the end of a winding career path in Minnesota for Culpepper, who over seven seasons went from the team's biggest star and cornerstone to a malcontent that had to be jettisoned. His standing with the Vikings deteriorated beyond salvation this offseason, when he clashed with management over rehabbing his injured knee and didn't see eye-to-eye with new coach Brad Childress.

The Dolphins declined to confirm the deal.

''Anything we do is contingent on a player passing a medical exam," said spokesman Harvey Greene, who declined further comment.

Culpepper is coming off a nightmare season (six TDs and 12 interceptions in seven games) that ended Oct. 30, when he tore three ligaments in his knee. A deal had been in the works since the middle of last week, when Culpepper requested to be traded or released from his contract.

The Dolphins also spoke to free agent Drew Brees, but didn't want to pay the high price he was asking after shoulder surgery. Shortly after the Culpepper deal was announced, the New Orleans Saints said they agreed to a six-year contract with Brees.

Brees said last weekend he will take four or five months to be fully recovered from the surgery on his throwing shoulder. That could account for the terms of the contract, which guarantees money only in the first year. The deal calls for the Saints to pay Brees about $60 million over the life of the contract, including a $10 million bonus up front and a $12 million option in the second year.

The moves signaled bad news for the teams' starting quarterbacks last season. Miami released veteran Gus Frerotte, who would have cost the Dolphins $4.38 million against the salary cap this year. Aaron Brooks is expected to be released by New Orleans after his worst season since taking over as the starter in 2000.

Out patterns for WRs

Keyshawn Johnson is gone in Dallas. Could T.O. take his place?

With timing and a storyline seemingly borrowed from daytime television, the Cowboys released Johnson, their leading receiver, only hours after the rival Eagles cut their tempestuous, talented receiver, Terrell Owens.

The Eagles have long been wary about the Cowboys trying to land Owens, even asking the NFL to punish Dallas owner Jerry Jones for comments in November that they interpreted as trying to woo him. Philadelphia backed off its tampering claim a few days later, but the coming days might prove whether team officials were onto something.

Johnson was released to avoid a $1 million bonus. He was scheduled to make only $1.5 million this season, but was seeking an extension and a raise. Owens is two years younger and more dynamic, but has also worn out his welcome in San Francisco and Philadelphia with a string of incidents and infractions.

Owens has already met with Denver and Kansas City, and is expected to be in contact with Miami.

Shields not retiring

Guard Will Shields, an 11-time All-Pro with the Chiefs, has agreed to a four-year contract that will ensure his career ends with Kansas City. Shields contemplated retirement for over a year because of chronic back pain, but agent Joe Linta said the reworked deal would let Shields retire after this coming season without forcing him to pay back part of his bonus. Shields was due a salary of $5.1 million in 2006 . . . The Jets agreed on a three-year, $9.2 million deal with defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen, his agent said. The 12-year veteran spent the last six seasons with the Steelers . . . The Lions and Jon Kitna have reached a tentative agreement that will bring the free agent quarterback to Detroit, his agent, Mike Moye, said. The Lions also re-signed defensive end Kalimba Edwards and kick returner Eddie Drummond to five-year deals . . . Offensive tackle Mike Williams, a bust in Buffalo, signed with Jacksonville. The Jaguars also re-signed two unrestricted free agents: cornerback Terry Cousin and defensive end Marcellus Wiley . . . The Bills retained Pro Bowl long-snapper Mike Schneck . . . The Redskins signed veteran quarterback Todd Collins of Walpole to a two-year, $2.5 million contract . . . Former Redskins safety Ryan Clark inked a four-year contract with Pittsburgh . . . The Giants signed a pair of free agents, cornerback Jason Bell and safety Quentin Harris, and re-signed return specialist Chad Morton, backup tackle Bob Whitfield, and reserve quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, formerly of Xaverian High School and Boston College . . . Other free agents finding new homes were safety Shaun Williams (Carolina), tight end Matt Schobel (Philadelphia), and cornerback Fakhir Brown (St. Louis).

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