Frenetic start to NFL free agency 

click to enlarge Tony Gonzales opted to stay with the Falcons. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images File Photo
  • Tony Gonzales opted to stay with the Falcons.

The Baltimore Ravens are paying the price for winning a Super Bowl.

The NFL champions lost two key components of their defense, linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe, as free agency began Tuesday. On Monday, they traded star receiver Anquan Boldin, a key to their title run, to the 49ers — the team the Ravens beat 34-31 to win the championship.

Kruger went north to division rival Cleveland for a five-year, $40 million deal, while Ellerbe headed south to Miami for $35 million over five years. Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace joined Ellerbe in choosing the Dolphins.

The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with tight end Anthony Fasano, a three-year, $12.6 million contract with defensive tackle Mike DeVito, and a three-year deal with Saints backup quarterback Chase Daniel.

Teams also made cuts Tuesday. The biggest were Ryan Fitzpatrick in Buffalo and Nnamdi Asomugha in Philadelphia.

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 the other 5 percent won out.

Also Tuesday:

  • Tennessee agreed to terms with Buffalo guard Andy Levitre. Levitre, one of the top offensive linemen on the market, got a six-year deal worth nearly $47 million.
  • Tight end Martellus Bennett agreed to a four-year contract with the Bears, leaving the Giants after one season. Defensive tackle Henry Melton signed his franchise tag tender at $8.45 million.
  • Indianapolis agreed in principle on contracts with tackle Gosder Cherilus, linebacker Lawrence Sidbury, guard Donald Thomas, cornerback Greg Toler and linebacker Erik Walden. Each of the deals is pending a physical.
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