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After months of turmoil that left his NFL career in doubt, tackle Jonathan Martin will get another chance with a coach he knows well.

Martin, who was at the center of the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal last fall, will be reunited in San Francisco with his former coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers traded a conditional draft pick for Martin on Tuesday night.

The move ended Martin's roughly 4 ½-month nightmare, starting when he stormed out of the Dolphins' cafeteria after a prank orchestrated by teammate Richie Incognito, who was condemned along with two teammates for harassment following a league-backed investigation.

"It's big, because Coach (Harbaugh) is a very strong personality," Martin's agent, Ken Zuckerman, told USA TODAY Sports. "I think Jonathan will feel like he can just focus on football and not worry about anything else."

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The trade capped a wild opening day of free agency in which the 49ers also acquired another troubled young player – quarterback Blaine Gabbert, a former first-round pick who flamed out in Jacksonville.

Elsewhere around the league, Tuesday's kickoff provided another reminder the NFL is all about paying for the future, not the past.

On a day the likes of Julius Peppers and DeMarcus Ware were released and rumors continued to swirl about potential trades, dozens of younger players cashed in within minutes of the 4 p.m. market opening.

One of the most anticipated deals came Tuesday night, when the cap-strapped New Orleans Saints pulled a surprise and gave former Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd a six-year contract worth $54 million, with $28 million guaranteed.

Hours later, the Denver Broncos announced they'd agreed to terms on a six-year deal with cornerback Aqib Talib that ESPN reported is worth $57 million over six years that includes $26 million guaranteed.

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Earlier in the day, left tackles Branden Albert ($47 million to Miami), Rodger Saffold ($42.5 million to Oakland), Jared Veldheer ($35 million to Arizona) and Eugene Monroe ($37.5 million to re-sign with Baltimore) agreed to lucrative five-year deals.

The Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns were among the other active teams. So were the Chicago Bears, who cut Peppers, 34, just hours after signing his replacement, 26-year-old Lamarr Houston, to a five-year, $35 million deal with $14.9 million guaranteed.

"He was a leader on our defense starting every game since coming to Chicago," general manager Phil Emery said of Peppers in a statement. "His accomplishments over his NFL career place him among the best defensive ends over the past 20 years."

That wasn't enough to save Peppers and his more than $18 million salary cap figure, though. Hours earlier, Ware also was released after the 31-year-old refused a pay cut with the Dallas Cowboys, who have restructuring veterans' contracts for weeks.

Jared Allen was working on a charity project in Arizona when his contract expired with the Minnesota Vikings, making three of the NFL's four active sack leaders free agents while players with more years ahead but a sliver of their production got paid top dollar.

"The big thing that I like to see is guaranteed money, and you're seeing deals where over half is guaranteed," said agent David Canter, who negotiated nose tackle Paul Soliai's five-year, $33 million contract that included $14 million guaranteed with the Falcons.

But Canter was quick to point out that with 471 free agents hitting the market, there had been no blockbusting megadeals, one year after receiver Mike Wallace's five-year, $60 million contract with the Miami Dolphins was the only one to surpass the $10 million per year mark.

The record $133 million salary cap surely was a boon. Franchise tags thinned the market, though, limiting the options of New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, Carolina Panthers end Greg Hardy and Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo.

Several others entering their second contracts – including Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields, Minnesota Vikings end Everson Griffen and Seattle Seahawks end Michael Bennett – took themselves off the market by re-signing during the three-day negotiating period that began Saturday.

The Falcons remodeled their d-line with Soliai and end Tyson Jackson in free agency, also re-signing defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and adding guard Jon Asamoah.

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The Browns gave $12 million guaranteed to linebacker Karlos Dansby – one of few players over 30 to get a sizeable payday – and $13 million guaranteed to safety Donte Whitner, allowing T.J. Ward to depart for the Denver Broncos.

The Indianapolis Colts spent, too, bringing in defensive end Arthur Jones on a five-year, $33 million deal and re-signing cornerback Vontae Davis to a significant extension.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added end Michael Johnson on a deal worth roughly $43.75 million over five years with $24 million guaranteed and also agreed to terms with cornerback Alterraun Verner on a four-year, $26.5 million deal that included $14 million guaranteed.

All the while, the Bucs were continuing trade talks about cornerback Darrelle Revis, who otherwise could be cut Wednesday.

Revis is just 28, but his $16 million cap number has him vulnerable. The same goes for Saints running back Darren Sproles, 30, and Panthers receiver Steve Smith, 34, who took to Twitter with gallows humor about their uncertain fate.

Responding to a photo of a "SAVE STEVE SMITH" shirt, Smith tweeted: "Man they making shirts like I got a case against me. I ain't going jail am I?"

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero.

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