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.
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.
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.
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.
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