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Bears agree to deal with WR Cruz

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- Free agent wide receiver Victor Cruz has agreed to a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday.

Wide receiver was a position of need for the Bears after losing Alshon Jeffery, a free agent who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. But the Bears have a number of wide receivers who will vie for playing time, including Cameron Meredith, Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton.

Cruz, 30, spent his previous six seasons with the New York Giants, and he had big seasons in 2011, 2012 and 2013, catching 241 passes for 3,626 yards and 23 touchdowns in 46 games in those three seasons.

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Saints mourn Hall of Fame Kennedy

(TSX / STATS) -- METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints had Pro Football Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy on their minds Thursday when they held their first open practice of the first week of OTAs.

Kennedy, a former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle, served as an adviser to Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for many years. He also was a close friend of many Saints staff members before his unexpected death Tuesday in Florida at age 48.

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Key OTA Battle: Pats loaded with high-end talent at CB

(TSX / STATS) -- FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots' loaded roster and active offseason put plenty of key positions in the spotlight as the defending champs hit the practice fields for the first week of organized team activities.

Tom Brady's ageless presence and star power combined with the fact that budding backup Jimmy Garoppolo remains in New England to play out his rookie contract mean the focus will always be on the quarterback spot.

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Beefed up Seahawks defense must wait on OTAs

(TSX / STATS) -- RENTON, Wash. -- While the rest of the NFL was able to begin their organized team activities this week, the Seattle Seahawks were unable to take part.

The Seahawks lost this week of practices last year after the NFL penalized the franchise for excessive contact in offseason practices. The league ultimately docked the Seahawks a week of OTAs and stripped away a fifth-round draft pick in last month's NFL Draft.

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Key OTA Battle: Saints look at centers, CBs

(TSX / STATS) -- METAIRIE, La. -- When the New Orleans Saints opened their third practice of the first week of organized team activities to media on Thursday, a lot of attention was focused on two important positions that feature lots of question marks.

Much of the talk during the early part of the offseason concerned the Saints' porous defense and the club's desire to beef up a group that ranked last in passing yards allowed a year ago.

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Key OTA Batlle: Ravens look at several pass rushers

(TSX / STATS) -- OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens invested heavily in finding an effective pass rusher.

Now, the team has several options to effectively fill that role. This means there should be some fierce competition throughout the organized team activities into training camp.

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Key OTA Battle: Oher (concussion) still not back for Panthers

(TSX / STATS) -- CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For nearly eight months, people have been wondering about Michael Oher's status.

With the popular offensive tackle absent for the first two days of OTAs, and the Carolina Panthers still hoping he will return sometime this spring, the questions probably won't stop anytime soon.

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NFL notebook: Bears sign WR Cruz

(TSX / STATS) -- Free agent wide receiver Victor Cruz has agreed to a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Thursday.

Cruz, 30, spent his previous six seasons with the New York Giants, and he had big seasons in 2011, 2012 and 2013, catching 241 passes for 3,626 yards and 23 touchdowns in 46 games in those three seasons.

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Key OTA Battle: Bills hope WR Jones can step right in opposite Watkins

(TSX / STATS) -- ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The numbers will tell you that no team in the NFL has been more proficient at running the ball than the Buffalo, Bills as they have led the league in rushing two consecutive years.

On the flip side, few teams have been less proficient at passing the ball than the Bills, as they ranked 30th in yards last year and 28th the year before.

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Key OTA Battle: Working without key players

(TSX / STATS) -- EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Organized Team Activities are, per the current NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, voluntary.

That's probably what New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Olivier Vernon would tell people to remember if they were in East Rutherford, N.J., with the rest of the team working during the final phase of the spring in which offense can compete in non-contact drills against defense.

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