Gonzalez has more catches, touchdown catches, yards receiving, 100-yard games and Pro Bowl appearances than any tight end in NFL history.
The Falcons have some big holes at the start of free agency. Tight end isn’t one of them.
Tony Gonzalez announced Tuesday he is returning for another year after his near-retirement, a move that has coach Mike Smith smiling.
“I can assure you we’re a lot better football team this afternoon than we were this morning,” Smith said soon after Gonzalez announced on his Twitter feed he will return to the Falcons for the 2013 season.
Gonzalez decided “to give it one more shot” after talking with his family. Gonzalez said during the season he was 95 percent sure he would retire after the 2012 season. His productive season made it difficult to stick with the retirement plan.
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The future Hall of Famer, who turned 37 last month, led the Falcons with 93 catches for 930 yards and eight touchdowns. Gonzalez has more catches, touchdown catches, yards receiving, 100-yard games and Pro Bowl appearances than any tight end in NFL history. Only Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice has more catches.
Dolphins get receiver Wallace
Receiver Mike Wallace was the Miami Dolphins’ No. 1 offseason target, and they moved quickly Tuesday to seal a deal.
Wallace agreed to a multiyear contract on the first day of NFL free agency.
In four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wallace caught 32 touchdown passes. He gives the Dolphins the speedy deep threat they lacked last season, when their wideouts totaled three touchdowns.
Wallace upgrades an offense that ranked 27th last year while led by Ryan Tannehill, the first rookie quarterback to start all 16 games for the Dolphins. Wallace, a third-round draft pick in 2009, has averaged 17.2 yards per catch and has at least 60 receptions each of the past three years.
Highlights of other moves Tuesday
• San Francisco confirmed the trade of 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.
• The biggest cuts were Ryan Fitzpatrick in Buffalo and Nnamdi Asomugha in Philadelphia. The Bills’ starting quarterback was released 1 ½ years after getting a six-year, $59 million contract extension. Fitzpatrick struggled after signing the deal, and the Bills went 6-10 in 2011 and in 2012. Cornerback Asomugha, who two years ago got a five-year, $60 million contract with $24 million guaranteed when he left Oakland, was a flop in Philly.
• Peyton Manning, the four-time Most Valuable Player, was on Denver’s roster Tuesday, the start of the new league year, triggering his guaranteed salary of $20 million a year for 2013 and 2014. Manning, who turns 37 on March 24, threw for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns last season.
Because Manning’s health was questionable as he entered free agency last year after multiple neck operations, the Broncos signed him to a contract that did not include a signing bonus. In turn, Manning got two years guaranteed if he made it into the second season.
• Baltimore lost two key components of its defense, linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe. Kruger went northwest to division rival Cleveland for a five-year, $40 million deal, while Ellerbe headed south to Miami for $35 million over five years.
• 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.
• 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. He will replace former Seahawk Steve Hutchinson, who announced his retirement.
• The Chicago Bears agreed to a five-year contract with Saints Pro Bowl left tackle Jermon Bushrod, filling a major hole on the offensive line. The deal is potentially worth about $36 million, with $17.7 million guaranteed.