Ravens lose two defensive stalwarts to free agency

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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 San Francisco – 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.

Receiver Mike Wallace was the Dolphins’ No. 1 off-season target, and they moved quickly Tuesday to seal a deal.

Wallace agreed to a multiyear contract on the first day of NFL free agency, a person with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press.

The 49ers didn’t go untouched, either. After giving up a sixth-round draft pick for Boldin, they saw tight end Delanie Walker leave for Tennessee.

San Francisco also confirmed the trade of backup quarterback Alex Smith to Kansas City, a deal that was known for weeks. The 49ers will receive the Chiefs’ second-round pick, 34th overall, in this year’s draft and a conditional pick in next year’s draft.

Kruger led the Ravens with nine sacks and added 2½ in the playoffs and two in the Super Bowl. But he was too expensive for Baltimore to keep.

The Ravens did sign free agent defensive end Chris Canty, who spent the previous four seasons with the New York Giants.

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

The Bills’ starting quarterback was released 1½ years after getting a six-year, $59 million contract extension.

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

Philadelphia released cornerback Asomugha, who two years ago got a five-year, $60 million contract, $24 million guaranteed, when he left Oakland as a free agent. Asomugha was a flop, often victimized in single coverage. He was scheduled to make $15 million next season, with $4 million guaranteed.

Also Tuesday:

• 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.

The 31-year-old Smith and 30-year-old Vilma, both veteran defensive captains, would have taken up about $23 million combined in salary cap space without the redone deals.

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

• Tennessee agreed to terms with Walker and Buffalo guard Andy Levitre. Levitre, one of the top offensive linemen on the market, got a six-year deal worth nearly $47 million.

• Pittsburgh re-signed linebacker Larry Foote and wide receiver Plaxico Burress and tendered offers to four restricted free agents: receiver Emmanuel Sanders, running backs Jonathan Dwyer, a former Georgia Tech star, and Isaac Redman, all of whom could be starters in 2013, and nose tackle Steve McLendon. Burress should provide depth with the Steelers losing Mike Wallace in free agency, but he struggled to get onto the field after returning to the Steelers last November.

• Cincinnati re-signed defensive end Robert Geathers, a former Georgia standout. Geathers enters his 10th season with the Bengals, the longest tenure on the current roster.

• San Diego released 11-year veteran tight end Randy McMichael, another former Georgia standout.

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