NFL free agency Notebook: Bills cut QB Fitzpatrick; Gonzalez returns

Falcons TE won't retire; Dolphins land WR Wallace
2013-03-13T00:00:00Z NFL free agency Notebook: Bills cut QB Fitzpatrick; Gonzalez returnsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Ryan Fitzpatrick is out at Buffalo and Paul Kruger is in with the Browns in the first major moves as NFL free agency began Tuesday.

The Bills' starting quarterback was cut 1 1/2 years after getting a six-year, $59 million contract extension. Fitzpatrick struggled after signing the new deal, and the Bills went 6-10 in 2011 and in 2012.

Buffalo has not made the playoffs since 1999, the longest active streak in the NFL. For now, the Bills' No. 1 QB is Tarvaris Jackson.

Bills general manager Buddy Nix said, "difficult decisions often have to be made and so we are moving forward. Our focus remains on adding another quarterback to our roster and we will continue to explore every option available to us."

Kruger helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl, leading the team with nine sacks. The outside linebacker added 2Ω in the postseason.

But he was too expensive for Baltimore to keep and Kruger moves north in the AFC North to Cleveland, which needs help everywhere. He got a five-year deal for $40 million.

The Ravens also made official their trade of receiver Anquan Boldin, another playoff and Super Bowl standout, to San Francisco for a sixth-round draft pick.

Earlier, Tony Gonzalez changed his mind and decided to return to the Falcons. The NFL's career leader among tight ends with 1,242 receptions and 103 touchdowns said he was 95 percent certain he would retire after 2012.

But before free agency began Thursday, Gonzalez tweeted: "The lure of being on such a great team and organization, along with unbelievable fan support was too good to pass up."

The Falcons also re-signed left tackle Sam Baker to a six-year contract.

Also Thursday:

• Arizona re-signed safety Rashad Johnson to a three-year contract.

• Former Pittsburgh receiver Mike Wallace agreed to a multiyear contract with Miami. He gives the Dolphins the speedy deep threat they lacked last year, when their wideouts had three TDs. Miami also reached a $35 million, five-year deal with inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl.

• Philadelphia released cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who two years ago got a five-year, $60 million contract, $24 million guaranteed, when he left Oakland. Asomugha was a flop in Philly, often victimized in single coverage. The Eagles also signed cornerback Bradley Fletcher (Rams), tight end James Casey (Texans), safety Patrick Chung (Patriots), linebacker Jason Phillips (Panthers) and defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga (49ers).

• Defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma, both implicated in the Saints' bounty scandal, agreed to restructure their contracts to remain with New Orleans.

• Minnesota finalized the trade of receiver Percy Harvin to Seattle, released 14-year veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield and re-signed tackle Phil Loadholt.

• Tennessee agreed to terms with Buffalo guard Andy Levitre and 49ers tight end Delanie Walker. Levitre, one of the top offensive linemen on the market, got a six-year deal worth nearly $47 million. He'll replace Steve Hutchinson, who announced his retirement, and Walker will help replace Jared Cook.

• Pittsburgh re-signed linebacker Larry Foote and receiver Plaxico Burress and tendered offers to four restricted free agents: receiver Emmanuel Sanders, running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, all of whom could be starters in 2013, and nose tackle Steve McLendon.

• Denver agreed to terms with former San Diego guard Louis Vasquez.

And Peyton Manning will be the Broncos quarterback through at least 2014. The four-time Most Valuable Player's contract called for a guaranteed salary of $20 million in 2013 and 2014 if he was on the Denver roster Tuesday, which marks the start of the new league year.

Manning turns 37 on March 24.

• Tight end Martellus Bennett agreed to a four-year contract with the Bears, leaving the Giants after one season. Chicago also agreed to a five-year contract with New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl left tackle Jermon Bushrod, filling a major hole on the offensive line. Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton signed his franchise tag tender at $8.45 million.

• Cincinnati re-signed defensive ends Robert Geathers and Wallace Gilberry. Geathers enters his 10th season with the Bengals, the longest tenure on the current roster.

• The Texans released receiver Kevin Walter, who was due to make $2 million in salary. Walter never became the threat opposite Andre Johnson that the team hoped for. He caught 41 passes for 518 yards and two touchdowns in 2012.

• Carolina cut linebacker James Anderson, a seven-year veteran who had a team-record 174 tackles in 2011.

• San Diego released 11-year veteran tight end Randy McMichael and signed kicker Nick Novak to a four-year contract

• The New York Jets cut nose tackle Sione Po'uha and restructured the contract of receiver Santonio Holmes.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

NFL standings and stats


Cardinals schedule (all times Eastern)








Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

Restore that million dollar view

Call Crystal Clean today!

HDS Inc. NOW HIRING

Hiring event December 10th at our office.  We will be hiring f…