NFL notes: Dolphins’ Jonathan Martin traded to 49ers

First day of free agency sees Ware, Peppers cut

Jonathan Martin was traded from Miami to the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday night.
Jonathan Martin was traded from Miami to the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday night.Getty Images/File

Jonathan Martin is returning to familiar territory, months after he accused a teammate of bullying and left the Dolphins.

The offensive tackle was traded from Miami to the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday night, reuniting the lineman with Jim Harbaugh, his college coach at Stanford and a support staff he knows so well. In fact, Harbaugh publicly expressed his support of Martin last year.

The Dolphins announced the move late on the first day of NFL free agency. San Francisco confirmed, saying that it would send an undisclosed draft choice to Miami and that Martin still must pass a physical.

‘‘Big news . . . Beyond Blessed . . . Opportunities are few in the NFL . . . Can’t wait to get to work #9erEmpire,’’ Martin posted on Twitter.


The 24-year-old Martin’s move cross country brings him back to Northern California, but he is already in town — back on the Stanford campus taking classes.

‘‘This is great for him to get back on the field and he’s in Palo Alto right now. It couldn’t be much better,’’ his agent, Ken Zuckerman, said in a phone interview.

An NFL investigation determined last month that Dolphins guard Richie Incognito and two other offensive linemen engaged in persistent harassment of Martin, another offensive lineman, and an assistant trainer. Incognito and guard John Jerry, also implicated in the report on the investigation, became free agents Tuesday.

Martin left the Dolphins in late October, underwent counseling for emotional issues, and alleged he was harassed by teammates. Incognito was then suspended for the final eight games.

‘‘We feel that this move is in the best interests of all parties involved,’’ Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said. ‘‘We wish Jonathan well.’’

The trade capped a busy first day for both teams.

Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert and the Dolphins agreed to a five-year contract worth more than $45 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Miami also reportedly agreed on a $16 million, four-year deal with former Texans defensive tackle Earl Mitchell.


Meanwhile, San Francisco released cornerback Carlos Rogers after three seasons, an expected cost-cutting move. San Francisco wasted little time in replacing Donte Whitner, who signed with Cleveland, landing former Colt Antoine Bethea with a $23 million, four-year contract.

With Rogers’s departure, San Francisco will clear $5.1 million in salary cap room.

San Francisco also acquired quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jacksonville for a sixth-round pick this year and a conditional pick next season.

Also, kicker Phil Dawson announced on Twitter that he re-signed with the team as planned.

Rushing to change

A couple of accomplished pass rushers suddenly became available when DeMarcus Ware and Julius Peppers were released to create room under the salary cap at the start of the free agency signing period.

The Bears cut Peppers, who has 118½ sacks in 12 seasons, as part of a series of moves aimed at improving their defense, including agreeing to a five-year contract with former Raiders end Lamarr Houston.

The Cowboys let Ware (117 sacks) go.

With the cap rising $10 million to a record $133 million, a crop of players found new homes as soon as the market opened.

Left tackle Jared Veldheer and the Cardinals agreed to a five-year contract worth up to $35 million. Veldheer left the Raiders, who replaced him by giving ex-Rams lineman Rodger Saffold a five-year deal. Another left tackle, Eugene Monroe, agreed to five years to stay with the Ravens. Just days after cutting guard Uche Nwaneri for performance reasons, the Jaguars agreed with ex-Broncos guard Zane Beadles on a five-year deal worth $30 million.


The 31-year-old Ware, who went to seven Pro Bowls with Dallas, was set to count $16 million against the cap. By releasing him, the Cowboys, up against the cap, saved more than $7 million. Ware had a career-low six sacks last season.

In another tough cut, the Steelers released linebacker LaMarr Woodley, with a post-June 1 designation. The Steelers used some of their money to sign hard-hitting Mike Mitchell from Carolina, the oft-fined safety said on Twitter.

Browns busy

In addition to safety Whitner saying he agreed to a deal with the Browns, who also reportedly signed linebacker Karlos Dansby.

A two-time Pro Bowler with San Francisco and a Cleveland native, Whitner, 28, spent the past three seasons with the 49ers after five with Buffalo. According to reports, he is getting a four-year, $28 million deal. He’ll replace Pro Bowler T.J. Ward, who signed with Denver.

According to multiple reports, the Browns agreed on a four-year, $24 million deal with Dansby. He had 122 tackles and 4 interceptions for Arizona last season.

Colts Jones-ing

The Colts added defensive lineman Arthur Jones, and agreed with kicker Adam Vinatieri in the morning and a four-year deal with top cover corner Vontae Davis in the afternoon before re-signing running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Jones, a 6-foot-3-inch, 315-pound defensive end, played his first two seasons in Baltimore when Colts coach Chuck Pagano was an assistant with the Ravens. The 41-year-old Vinatieri’s two-year deal virtually assures he will remain the oldest player in the league in 2014 and 2015 . . . The Buccaneers agreed to contracts with Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner, defensive end Michael Johnson, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, and tight end Brandon Myers. Verner, 25, agreed to a four-year deal and could replace Darrelle Revis, expected to be dealt or traded Wednesday.


Saints lose Jenkins, sign Byrd

The Saints reached agreement with former Bills safety Jairus Byrd on a six-year deal. It’s a $54 million deal that has $28 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN. Byrd is a three-time Pro Bowler. Byrd will replace Malcolm Jenkins, who agreed on a three-year contract with the Eagles worth $16.25 million, including $8.5 million guaranteed. It came after former Patriot safety Patrick Chung was released . . . Trying to distance itself from a dismal season, Atlanta re-signed defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux to a three-year deal, cut former Pro Bowl safety Thomas DeCoud, and signed guard Jon Asamoah, defensive end Tyson Jackson, and defensive tackle Paul Soliai . . . Oakland re-signed running back Darren McFadden to a one-year contract and agreed to a five-year deal with offensive lineman Saffold. A person with knowledge of the deal said McFadden will be paid $4 million. ESPN reported that Saffold will get $42.5 million with $21 million guaranteed despite missing 17 games in four seasons in St. Louis . . . Houston released tight end Owen Daniels. Daniels has spent his eight-year career with the Texans and was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2012. He broke his fibula last season . . . Former UConn and Colts tailback Donald Brown signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal with the Chargers.