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Falcons sign ex-Rams back

– The Atlanta Falcons found their replacement for Michael Turner on Thursday by agreeing to terms with Steven Jackson, considered the top free-agent running back, on a three-year, $12 million deal.

Jackson, 30, had 1,042 yards rushing and four touchdowns with the Rams last season. It was his eighth straight season with more than 1,000 yards rushing.

“I think this is a very big signing for us,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told The Associated Press. “It continues to bolster our offensive firepower. It gives us not only strength, power in running ability but also the versatility to catch out of the backfield, which is a very important part of this offense.”

In separate posts on his Twitter feed, Jackson referred to Dimitroff and Falcons owner Arthur Blank as he thanked the Falcons for the new deal.

Jackson would have earned $7 million with the Rams in 2013 before he opted out of his contract to become a free agent.

Jackson has rushed for 10,135 yards in his career. He set career highs with 1,528 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns with St. Louis in 2006.

Pats replace Welker

New England agreed to terms with receiver Danny Amendola on a deal that would reportedly pay him $31 million over five years, moving quickly after the loss of five-time Pro Bowl selection Wes Welker.

Also, the Patriots announced the signing of running back Leon Washington, 30, who has played seven seasons with the Jets and Seattle Seahawks.

In 103 NFL games, Washington has run 473 for 2,213 yards and 16 touchdowns, and caught 146 passes for 1,127 yards and two TDs.

Tuck rule could be eliminated

The tuck rule could disappear if owners approve a proposal from the competition committee to dump it.

If a passer is in the act of bringing the ball down into his body rather than throwing it and loses control, it has been ruled an incomplete pass under the tuck rule. The proposal would make it a fumble. The league meetings are next week in Phoenix.

Around the league

Kansas City agreed to terms with cornerback Sean Smith on a three-year deal to help shore up the secondary. Smith has 177 tackles and five interceptions in his career. … Philadelphia signed cornerback Cary Williams and safety Kenny Phillips. …

Minnesota agreed to terms with Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel. … The Giants agreed to deals with safety Ryan Mundy and cornerback Aaron Ross. … Cleveland agreed to terms with running back Chris Ogbonnaya on a two-year contract. … Tennessee re-signed kick returner Darius Reynaud to a one-year deal. …

Tampa Bay signed free agent linebacker Jonathan Casillas and receiver Kevin Ogletree, while also reaching agreements to keep three of their own players – running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Corvey Irvin and defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. …

Seattle finalized its contract with free agent defensive end Cliff Avril, a former ion and Purdue star. … Detroit tackle Jeff Backus is retiring, ending a 12-year career in which he missed only one game.