Bruce Smith wasn't unemployed long.
The NFL's second-leading career sacker, released Thursday by Buffalo, signed Saturday with the Washington Redskins, adding star power and leadership to a defense that ranked next-to-last in the NFL last season.
The Dallas Cowboys, meanwhile, tried to keep pace with their NFC East rival by beefing up their passing game, 24th in the league last season.
They signed Joey Galloway, Seattle's unhappy wide receiver, to a seven-year, $42 million deal that included a $12 million signing bonus.
But they had to part with two first-round draft picks, the 19th overall in this April's draft and their first-rounder next season, because the Seahawks had designated Galloway as their franchise player.
Those picks delighted Mike Holmgren, Seattle's coach and general manager, who was unhappy with Galloway because he held out half of last season and was unproductive when he reported. He had 22 receptions for 335 yards and just one touchdown in eight games.
"What I have to do is to make sure it's the right things for the Seahawks and, when all the dust settles on this thing, it was certainly the right thing to do," said Holmgren, who said five or six other teams were interested in Galloway.
Both the Galloway and Smith deals were engineered by Leigh Steinberg, whose philosophy always has been to sign free-agent clients early when teams still have money available. Galloway fired Eric Metz midway through the negotiations and hired Steinberg as his agent, something Holmgren said was a key to the Seahawks giving the Cowboys permission to talk to Galloway.
There were two other major signings, both by Atlanta, which finished 5-11 last season after winning the NFC title the year before.
They signed cornerback Ashley Ambrose from New Orleans to pair with Ray Buchanan at cornerback and wide receiver Shawn Jefferson from New England in hopes of getting the deep threat they lost when they let Tony Martin go to Miami after last season.
"We want to be known as the best damn tandem in the league," said Ambrose, who has been close friends with Buchanan since they played together in Indianapolis. Ambrose almost signed with Atlanta last season and was available when New Orleans voided the second year of his contract there.
In other moves, Chicago signed former Sattle defensive end Phillip Daniels to a $25 million, five-year contract, and Cleveland agreed on a six-year deal with former Pittsburgh defensive lineman Orpheus Roye.
The 36-year-old Smith left Buffalo angrily after being offered half the $4.6 million he was scheduled to make next season. He has 171 career sacks, but had only seven last season, the fewest since his rookie year not counting 1991, when he missed most of the season with a knee injury.
He signed a five-year, $23 million contract.
Steinberg said that he was contacted about Smith by nine teams, but that Smith wanted to talk only with Washington because he grew up in neighboring Virginia and still makes his home there.
"This is like a homecoming for me," Smith said.
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