NFL Playmakers Defect during Free Agency

The NFL free-agency period started with a bang, as several prominent players joined forces with new teams

Chances are another player skipped town before you finish this sentence.

It’s a lot to keep up with, but here are a few noteworthy names who will suit up for a new squad this September.

Wes Welker (Denver Broncos) – He walked away from a future Hall of Fame quarterback, but Wes Welker will still catch passes from an all-time great in 2013.

Welker, who averaged 112 receptions per season during his six-year tenure with the New England Patriots, will leave Tom Brady behind to align with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

The 31-year-old signed a two-year deal with Denver worth $12 million.

While many know him as one of the most reliable wide receivers in football, New York Giants fans might fondly remember him for failing to reel in a catch in the closing minutes of Super Bowl XLVI.

Danny Amendola (New England Patriots) – New England did not wait too long to replace Welker.

The Patriots scooped up Danny Amendola to a five-year deal valued at $31 million. Last season, he caught 63 passes for 666 yards in 11 games.

Amendola will have big shoes to fill as Brady’s new go-to target to move the chains.

Reggie Bush (Detroit Lions) – Last season, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw 727 passes, the most in NFL history by a considerable margin.

Desperate to obtain some balance in its offense, Detroit grabbed running back Reggie Bush from the Miami Dolphins.

Bush rushed for 986 rushing yards last season, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Long labeled an injury-prone player, Bush missed just one game in the last two years.

Mike Wallace (Miami Dolphins) – It looks like Miami will be passing much more this season.

As Bush left, the Dolphins signed wide receiver Mike Wallace to a five-year, $60 million contract.  

Wallace nabbed 64 catches for 836 yards and eight touchdowns last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his four years in Pittsburgh, he averaged 1,010 yards and eight touchdowns per season.

Paul Kruger (Cleveland Browns) – The Baltimore Ravens lost players who played key roles in their Super Bowl title run.

First, Ray Lewis retired. Then they traded Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers. Now Paul Kruger is going to Cleveland.

Linebacker Paul Kruger, who quietly excelled in 2012 under Lewis’ shadow, cashed in on his breakout season with a $40.5 million deal. The 27-year-old registered nine sacks last season and added four more in the postseason. 

To make matters worse, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe also jettisoned Baltimore, taking his talents to South Beach instead. Safety Ed Reed is also a free agent.