Receiver Wes Welker bolts Patriots for Broncos 

click to enlarge Wes Welker scored a two-year deal on the open market with the Broncos. - AP FILE PHOTO
  • AP File Photo
  • Wes Welker scored a two-year deal on the open market with the Broncos.

Wes Welker sure knows how to pick his quarterbacks.

The star receiver, Tom Brady’s favorite target, is leaving New England and heading to Denver, where he’ll join Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

Day 2 of the NFL’s free agency frenzy was highlighted by Welker grabbing a two-year deal with the Broncos, who had the AFC’s best regular-season record last year. He gives Manning one of the steadiest targets the four-time league MVP ever has had.

The Patriots, however, moved quickly to replace him, signing the St. Louis Rams’ Danny Amendola to a five-year, $31 million deal, with $10 million guaranteed.

Reggie Bush agreed to a four-year deal with the Detroit Lions and could fill a huge hole at running back. The Lions haven’t been able to count on 2010 first-round draft pick Jahvid Best, whose career is in doubt because of concussion issues.

The Lions did suffer one loss, though, as defensive end Cliff Avril agreed to terms with the Seattle Seahawks. Avril had 9½ sacks for Detroit last season.

Cleveland remained active, agreeing to terms with linebacker Quentin Groves and tackle Desmond Bryant to further bolster a defense that added Baltimore Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger hours after free agency began.

Kansas City added cornerback Dunta Robinson, receiver Donnie Avery and offensive lineman Bryan Mattison to the three free agents it signed the previous day when the marketplace opened.

Also Wednesday:

  • Arizona, in dire need of help in the backfield, agreed on a one-year contract with former Pittsburgh starter Rashard Mendenhall. For three of his seasons, Mendenhall’s offensive coordinator was new Cardinals coach Bruce Arians.
  • The Cardinals also cut free safety Kerry Rhodes, a move that cleared $6 million in salary-cap space, and added cornerback Jerraud Powers, safety Yeremiah Bell, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander and quarterback Drew Stanton.
  • Jacksonville released receiver Laurent Robinson, the latest high-priced player let go as part of the team’s rebuilding project.
  • Buffalo addressed a need at linebacker by signing seven-year veteran Manny Lawson, a former 49er.
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