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Panthers release veteran receiver Steve Smith in salary-cap move

FootballSportsProfessional FootballCarolina PanthersLaMarr WoodleyJustin TuckNFL

The Steve Smith era in Carolina is over.

The Panthers released their all-time leading receiver on Thursday after 13 seasons. Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman said it “was not an easy decision” in a news release.

The decision came one day after Smith's agent, Derrick Fox, told the Associated Press that the 13-year NFL veteran “is not going to play for the Panthers next year, I know that.”

Fox said the Panthers never asked Smith, who turns 35 in May, to restructure his contract. The Panthers were unable to trade Smith, who was set to cost $7 million under this year's salary cap.

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The Oakland Raiders signed defensive end Justin Tuck and linebacker LaMarr Woodley to two-year deals in an effort to bolster their pass rush.

The two have combined for 117.5 sacks, reached double figures in a season seven times and have won three Super Bowl titles in their careers.

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After a cautious start, the Washington Redskins made their first big move of free agency, luring former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher with a four-year, $27.5-million contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Hatcher agreed to terms Thursday, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been signed.

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The Cincinnati Bengals released linebacker James Harrison, leaving the former defensive player of the year looking for his third team in three seasons.

The 35-year-old linebacker helped the Steelers win two Super Bowls and was the league's top defensive player in 2008. He left Pittsburgh when the two sides couldn't agree on a restructured deal.

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Tennessee has signed quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to a multi-year contract in a deal that reunites him with Titans Coach Ken Whisenhunt.

The 31-year-old Whitehurst spent the last two years in San Diego, where Whisenhunt worked as offensive coordinator in 2013.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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