March 11, 2015 / 12:12 AM / 2 years ago

Free-agent period triggers slew of big-name trades

3 Min Read

New England Patriots players celebrate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Longtime San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore signed with the Indianapolis Colts while cornerback Darrelle Revis re-joined the New York Jets on Tuesday as the NFL's free-agent period opened but it was a slew of trades that stole the spotlight.

The start of the National Football League's free agency period set 453 players loose to negotiate with all 32 clubs and triggered the deal-making.

In the most surprising deal of the day, the Seattle Seahawks obtained three-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham and a 2015 fourth-round draft pick from the New Orleans Saints for center Max Unger and a 2015 first-round pick.

Other confirmed trades included five-time Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata going to the Detroit Lions from the Baltimore Ravens, premier running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills from the Philadelphia Eagles and wide receiver Brandon Marshall joining the New York Jets from Chicago Bears.

In a rare exchange of quarterbacks, the Eagles sent Nick Foles and a second-round pick in 2016 to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford and a fifth-round pick in 2015.

Three-times Pro Bowler McCoy, the 2013 NFL rushing leader, was traded for linebacker Kiko Alonso, who was named Rookie of the Year in 2013 but missed last season due to injury.

Baltimore failed to reach contract terms with Ngata before the deadline and instead shipped him to Detroit, who were keen to add a defensive tackle after losing Ndamukong Suh.

Terms were not yet known, though reports said the Ravens received a pair of late-round draft picks.

Chicago reportedly received a fifth-round draft pick from the Jets for Marshall, who grabbed 279 receptions for 3,524 yards and 31 touchdowns in three seasons with the Bears.

The coming of Marshall sealed the fate of receiver Percy Harvin, who joined the ranks of free agents after being released by New York.

Gore joins the Colts after 10 seasons with the 49ers, where he earned five Pro Bowl nods and became the team’s all-time leader in rushing with 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns.

Revis, considered one of the top players eligible for free agency, spent six seasons in New York from 2007 to 2012 and will sign a five-year contract worth $70 million that includes $39 million guaranteed, NFL.com reported.

The player later confirmed on his official Twitter page he was returning to the Jets after one season with the New England Patriots, where he helped them win the Super Bowl.

The Patriots declined to exercise a $20 million option on Revis, but held exclusive negotiating rights that expired on Tuesday.

In another free-agent signing, new Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak replaced departed free agent tight end Julius Thomas with Owen Daniels, who he had coached in Baltimore and Houston.

Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue

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