Hours before free agency began, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released quarterback Brad Johnson and wide receiver Joe Jurevicius on Tuesday, cutting ties with two stars of their run to a Super Bowl title.
They joined a number of other veterans on the unemployment line as teams worked to get under the $85.5 million salary cap.
Also released was Troy Brown, who played both offense and defense last season for three-time Super Bowl champion New England.
The 33-year-old Brown, a 12-year veteran who was both a wide receiver and return man for New England, became the team's third cornerback last season after injuries decimated the secondary. He became a free agent when the Patriots declined to pick up the option in his current contract.
The Washington Redskins reached an agreement with tackle Chris Samuels on Tuesday night for a multiyear deal that includes the largest signing bonus in team history at $15.75 million, according to an official in the league who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Two other Bucs also were cut: cornerback Mario Edwards and linebacker Ian Gold. So were three members of the Raiders, the team they beat in that title game: guard Frank Middleton, safety Ray Buchanan and tight end Roland Williams.
And Green Bay cut left guard Mike Wahle, a solid starter but a player whose $11.3 million cap number was second on the team only to Brett Favre's.
The Dallas Cowboys released three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Dexter Coakley. He would have been due a $500,000 roster bonus if he was still on the team Wednesday.
The San Francisco 49ers terminated defensive end Brandon Whiting's contract Tuesday after he failed a physical, cutting ties with the oft-injured defensive end acquired last year in the Terrell Owens trade.
Pat Williams became a free agent when the Buffalo Bills failed to re-sign the defensive tackle before the start of the free agency period, the player's agent told The Associated Press.
The Bills were also expected to lose starting offensive tackle Jonas Jennings, who said Tuesday he was convinced there was no chance the team would re-sign him.
Versatile offensive lineman Marcus Price, backup safety Izell Reese and third-string tight end Ryan Neufeld were also eligible to become free agents if not re-signed by Buffalo on Tuesday.
Some of those players could be re-signed if they don't sign elsewhere, although Johnson is unlikely to be among them. He would join a group of veteran quarterbacks already on the market including Jeff Garcia, Vinny Testaverde and Kurt Warner.
The release of the 36-year-old quarterback had been expected.
''I have been where Brad is. Nobody likes to be told that they're fired,'' said Brian Griese, who started most of last year for Tampa Bay and restructured his contract to help the Bucs get under the cap. ''But I think Brad is the type of guy who will use that as motivation. I know he still has some good days left and I know he wants to go and prove himself. I don't have any doubts he'll go somewhere. And wherever he goes, that team will be getting a heck of a player and heck of a leader.''
Teams also re-signed players, structuring their contracts to keep under the $85.5 million cap.
Pittsburgh signed linebacker Larry Foote to a five-year deal. Foote became a starter when Kendrell Bell was injured. Bell will become a free agent.
The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed franchise player Donovin Darius to a one-year tender contract.
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