- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Calvin Johnson got the biggest contract in NFL history Wednesday, and he wasn’t even a free agent.

The All-Pro wide receiver’s eight-year deal through the 2019 season is worth $132 million, with $60 million guaranteed, surpassing the $120 million with $50 million guaranteed being paid to Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald.

“They were happy to get this thing done with, and I was happy as well,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t a lot of confrontation. We weren’t butting heads or anything. It was just something that we knew needed to get done.”

Another All-Pro, guard Carl Nicks, left New Orleans for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a five-year contract. Considered one of the NFL’s best pass blockers, Nicks is a two-time Pro Bowl player and was a key on the Saints’ record-setting offense.


Johnson lived up to his “Megatron” nickname with his spectacular receptions in 2011, catching 96 passes for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns in leading the Lions back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Jerry Rice, Randy Moss and Johnson are the only players in NFL history with at least 95 receptions, 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns in a season.

Calvin’s one of those guys _ we’ve said this about a few guys that we have in our building _ whatever they pay him is not enough,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s truly a special player.”

Tampa has been among the busiest teams in free agency, hardly surprising after the Bucs slumped from 10-6 to 4-12 last year. Nicks joined cornerback Eric Wright, who also signed Wednesday. Wright got a five-year deal, too.

On Tuesday, the Buccaneers added star receiver Vincent Jackson for five years and $55.55 million.

“We’ve made our mark for what we wanted to accomplish,” Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said.

Indianapolis made receiver Reggie Wayne’s return official Wednesday and also signed defense end Cory Redding to a contract.

Wayne will get three years and $17.5 million in what likely is the last deal of his career. He’s likely to be the No. 1 target for Andrew Luck, who the Colts are expected to take with the top pick in the draft.

Redding enters his 10th NFL season with a fourth team. He also has played for Detroit, Seattle and Baltimore.

“Cory is a big and aggressive interior … player who is an ideal fit in this defense,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “This type of player is hard to come by because of the traits required to play over large offensive linemen while still being a force to stop the run.”

Philadelphia agreed on a five-year contract with wideout and kick returner DeSean Jackson, who was given a franchise tag and would have cost any team signing him two first-round draft picks. Jackson held out last training camp because he wanted an extension and then had a mediocre season. He even was inactive for a game for being late for a team meeting.

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