The Atlanta Falcons boosted their hopes for another trip to the playoffs by acquiring tight end Tony Gonzalez from the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday for a draft pick next year.
The Falcons will send a second-round pick in 2010 to Kansas City in exchange for Gonzalez, the only tight end in NFL history selected to 10 Pro Bowls.
Gonzalez, a football and basketball star at Cal, caught 96 passes for 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008. He owns NFL career records for tight ends with 916 receptions, 10,940 yards receiving, 76 TDs receiving and 26 100-yard receiving games.
"I love Kansas City," he said in an interview with the Associated Press. "The fans have been unbelievable to me. I'm going to miss them. This is a happy day for me, but in many ways it's a sad day, too. I'm going to miss running out that tunnel and seeing that sea of red in those stands."
When he was drafted in the first round out of Cal, passing up his senior season, he had just turned 21.
"And now I'm leaving at 33. It's been a huge part of my life," he said. "When I retire, I'm going to retire a Chief. It's been a beautiful, beautiful ride in Kansas City. I'm not selling my home there."
Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said it wasn't easy to trade the star, who played in 188 regular-season games for Kansas City. Pioli said the Chiefs, 2-14 in 2008, did not pursue a trade for Gonzalez but agreed when the Falcons offered a second-round pick.
"This is something we really feel was a decision in the best short-term and long-term interest of the Chiefs," Pioli said, adding the 2010 draft pick could be used in another deal to acquire more picks in this weekend's draft.
Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt called Gonzalez "one of the finest players in Chiefs history."
Panthers: Jake Delhomme was signed to a five-year, $42.5 million extension that keeps their quarterback under contract through the 2014 season.
The deal includes $20 million in guaranteed money and clears much needed salary-cap space for Carolina. Delhomme was to count for more than $10 million under the cap next season in the final year of his deal.
The extension comes just over three months after the 34-year-old Delhomme had the worst game of his career, throwing five interceptions and losing a fumble in Carolina's 33-13 loss to Arizona in the NFC divisional playoffs.
But coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney had expressed strong support in the offseason for Delhomme, who has been the Panthers' starter since 2003.
The move also gives the Panthers some room under the salary cap, weighed down by Julius Peppers' one-year tender worth $16.7 million.
Colts: Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne has agreed to a restructured contract, which will give the Colts more room under this year's salary cap.
Wayne has been the Colts' primary receiver the past two seasons and is expected to play a more prominent role this year after Marvin Harrison, the franchise's career receiving leader, was released in February. In 2007, Wayne had a career-high 104 receptions for a league-leading 1,510 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last season, Wayne caught 84 passes for 1,145 yards with six TDs.
Rams: Will the St. Louis Rams use the No. 2 pick on USC quarterback Mark Sanchez?
Some NFL teams are privately speculating that might happen.
As the Detroit Lions continue to zero in on Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, there is a growing belief in league circles that the Rams — who already have quarterback Marc Bulger — are taking a serious look at the former Trojan standout.
With two days to go before the NFL draft, Sanchez is rapidly becoming the man of the hour, the linchpin player who's likely to determine the direction of the draft from the top.