The Miami Dolphins wasted no time making a splash in free agency, signing wide receiver Mike Wallace to a reported five- year, $65-million contract on Tuesday,
Wallace caught just 64 passes for 836 yards over 15 games with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012, but led the team with eight touchdown receptions. The speedy receiver’s best season came in 2010, when he finished with 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 21 yards per catch.
“We are pleased to reach an agreement with Mike Wallace,” said Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland. “He has a unique skill set which we believe will be a welcomed addition to our offense. We are looking forward to his contributions to the team.”
Originally selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft of out Mississippi, Wallace had 235 receptions for 4,042 yards and 32 touchdowns over his four-year tenure in Pittsburgh. He was also named to the Pro Bowl in 2011.
According to the Miami Herald, the Dolphins also signed free agent linebacker Darnell Ellerbe and released linebacker Karlos Dansby.
Ellerbe was a key member of the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive unit during their recent Super Bowl run. He finished second on the team with 92 tackles while adding 4 1/2 sacks.
While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, the Baltimore Sun is reporting Ellerbe’s pact to be worth $35 million over five years.
Browns reel in OLB Kruger
Just over a month after helping the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl title, Paul Kruger will be joining one of their biggest rivals.
The Cleveland Browns lured the talented outside linebacker away from their fellow AFC North cohorts during Tuesday’s first day of free agency, with Kruger agreeing to a five-year contract reportedly worth more than $40 million.
One of the top pass rushers available on this year’s market, Kruger parlayed a breakthrough 2012 campaign in which the four-year pro accumulated a career- best nine sacks in the regular season and 4 1/2 more during Baltimore’s playoff run into a big deal. The 26-year-old added 42 tackles, one interception and six passes defensed prior to the postseason.
Kruger will be ticketed for a starting role on a new-look Cleveland defense that is switching to a 3-4 alignment in 2013.
A second-round draft choice of the Ravens in 2009, Kruger played sparingly his first two seasons in Baltimore before breaking out with 5 1/2 sacks as a situational rusher in 2011.
Eagles release Asomugha
On the day the NFL’s free-agent market opened, the Eagles released cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, one of the most heralded free-agent signings in franchise history.
Asomugha, who played two seasons in Philadelphia, was scheduled to receive a base salary of $15 million this season, with $4 million guaranteed.
Asomugha arrived in Philadelphia as the headliner of the star-studded and ill-fated class of 2011 acquisitions. A three-time Pro Bowler with the Oakland Raiders, he signed a five-year, $60 million contract in 2011. He came with the reputation as one of the NFL’s elite cornerbacks, although he never justified that status in Philadelphia. He finished with four interceptions in two seasons and was too often beaten deep by opposing receivers.
Rams sign TE Cook to 5-year deal
The St. Louis Rams have agreed to terms on a five-year contract with tight end Jared Cook, the team announced on Tuesday.
Cook, 25, spent the last four seasons with Tennessee and hauled in 131 receptions for 1,717 yards and eight touchdowns. He has played in 59 career games, 12 of which have been starts, and has averaged 13.1 yards per reception.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder had 44 catches for 523 yards and a career-high four touchdowns this past season, one year after posting personal bests for receptions (49) and receiving yards.
Raiders release Heyward-Bey, two others
The Oakland Raiders cut ties with former first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey, along with defensive back Michael Huff and defensive end David Tollefson, on Tuesday.
The Raiders selected Heyward-Bey out of Maryland with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Over 15 games last season, Heyward-Bey caught 41 passes for 606 yards and a career-high five touchdowns.
In 2011, Heyward-Bey posted career-highs with 64 catches for 975 yards and caught four touchdown passes.
Huff, who was also selected seventh overall by Oakland in the 2006 NFL Draft, had 56 tackles and two interceptions over 16 games last season. The Texas product’s best season came in 2010 when he tallied 94 tackles and three interceptions.
Bears agree with TE Bennett
The Chicago Bears on Tuesday agreed to terms with former Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett on a four-year contract.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Bennett, who turned 26 on Sunday, played for the Giants last season and posted career highs of 55 receptions, 626 yards and five touchdowns. He was considered one of the top tight ends on the market, behind only Tony Gonzalez.
A second-round pick in the 2008 draft, Bennett spent his first four seasons with the Cowboys, recording 85 receptions for 846 yards and four TDs in 60 games.
Bills part ways with QB Fitzpatrick
The Buffalo Bills and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick have parted ways.
The unexpected move comes less than 18 months after Fitzpatrick agreed to a contract extension worth a reported $59 million over six years, with $24 million guaranteed.
Fitzpatrick, who signed with Buffalo in 2009 as a backup to quarterback Trent Edwards, eventually took over the starting role. He threw for 3,400 yards — his third consecutive year of 3,000-or-more yards passing — 24 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 16 games for the Bills last season.
In 73 career appearances for the Rams, Bengals and Bills since 2005, the Harvard product has thrown for 14,336 yards, 92 TDs and 81 picks. He departs the franchise with 11,654 passing yards, fourth-best in club history.
Bears land OT Bushrod
Seeking to bolster a beleaguered offensive line, the Chicago Bears struck a five-year agreement with tackle Jermon Bushrod on Tuesday’s first day of free agency.
The Chicago Tribune reported the deal to be worth nearly $36 million with $17.715 million guaranteed for Bushrod, a Pro Bowl honoree with the New Orleans Saints in each of the last two seasons who served as Drew Brees’ primary blind-side protector the past four years.
Bushrod broke into the NFL as a fourth-round draft choice of the Saints in 2007 and became the team’s regular left tackle in his third year, starting 14 regular-season games and all three playoff tests during New Orleans’ Super Bowl XLIV run during the 2009 campaign. During his time as a starter, the Saints have surrendered just 96 sacks, tied for the fewest in the league.
The Bears, on the other hand, have allowed at least 44 sacks in each of the last three seasons.
Bucs a likely stop for Revis
Speculation is mounting that Darrelle Revis’ days as a Jet are numbered.
The Jets have yet to pull the trigger on a trade for the three-time All-Pro cornerback, but Tampa Bay seems poised to be his potential landing spot.
The Bucs have had internal discussions about Revis and are open to the possibility of a trade, a source told Newsday on Tuesday. At the moment, it’s unclear whether Jets general manager John Idzik is anxious to unload Revis before he’s due to earn his $1-million roster bonus Saturday.
Despite Revis’ reputation as a shutdown corner, there aren’t as many trade partners for the Jets as one might assume. Revis, who has one year left on his four-year, $46-million deal, had knee surgery in October, so there are questions about