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Crumpler Signs Deal

From Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons have signed tight end Alge Crumpler to a six-year contract worth about $26 million. The announcement came Monday, one day after Crumpler caught the go-ahead touchdown pass in a 24-21 victory over New Orleans.

Crumpler and the Falcons finalized the deal Saturday but decided not to disclose it until after Sunday’s game. He then had one of his best performances of the season, catching four passes for 103 yards against the Saints.

“I didn’t want to be standing up here after a losing game,” Crumpler said at the news conference.

Crumpler’s new contract includes a $9-million signing bonus, on par with a deal signed two years ago by Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez, whose seven-year, $31.5-million contract included $10 million in guaranteed money.

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Had they not reached an agreement with Crumpler, the Falcons might have been forced to use the franchise designation to keep him from leaving.

Falcon owner Arthur Blank said Crumpler was adamant about a contract that wouldn’t hinder the team’s efforts to field a competitive team.

“One of his concerns was structuring the contract so we could keep the good players we have here,” Blank said. “You don’t see that a lot. Most of the time, it’s what can you do for me.”

Crumpler leads the team with 43 receptions for 709 yards and six touchdowns.

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Shaun Ellis signed a six-year deal to stay with the New York Jets, making him one of the highest-paid defensive ends in the league.

Ellis will get $15.5 million in guaranteed money, second to the $16 million Eagle defensive end Jevon Kearse received in the off-season. The deal is expected to average more than $6 million a year, putting the total slightly ahead of what Grant Wistrom of the Seattle Seahawks and Adewale Ogunleye of the Chicago Bears got from their teams.

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Rookie John Navarre will become Arizona’s third starting quarterback in the last four games when the Cardinals play the Lions in Detroit on Sunday. The seventh-round draft pick, who has not taken a snap in a regular-season game, will make his debut in the state where he was a three-year starter for the University of Michigan.

Coach Dennis Green announced the move Monday, benching Shaun King after two starts and deciding Navarre should get the nod over Josh McCown, who had the job for the first nine games.

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Kansas City quarterback Trent Green underwent X-rays of his sore ribs and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at Oakland. Coach Dick Vermeil said injured running back Priest Holmes would sit out another week, and safety Greg Wesley (hamstring) is doubtful. ... Denver lost cornerback Lenny Walls for the season after he dislocated his shoulder for the third time in the last 10 weeks.... Cleveland linebacker Andra Davis will sit out the remainder of the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee during Sunday’s loss against Cincinnati.... As expected, quarterback Jeff George signed a one-year deal with Chicago, returning to the NFL after a three-year absence.

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