NFL report: Buccaneers cut Alterraun Verner; Broncos part ways with Russell Okung

NFL report: Buccaneers cut Alterraun Verner; Broncos part ways with Russell Okung
Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner warms up before an exhibition game last season. (Chris Szagola / Associated Press)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released cornerback Alterraun Verner on Thursday.

Verner, 28, played for the Bucs from 2014-16, appearing in 46 games with 23 starts, totaling 141 tackles, 20 passes defensed, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and a half sack. He was a high-priced free agent in 2014, leaving Tennessee for a four-year, $25.5 million contact.


Tampa Bay will save $6.5 million in salary cap room with the move.

Verner no longer was a starter last season, with first-round draft pick Vernon Hargreaves taking his spot.

While with the Titans, Verner, a fourth-rounder in 2010, had 11 interceptions. He parlayed a 2013 Pro Bowl season into the big contract with the Buccaneers, but his performances never lived up to the deal.

Okung misses out on big payday

Russell Okung bet on himself and lost. Or did he? Serving as his own agent, Okung structured his contract so that only his $8-million salary in 2016 was guaranteed. He needed to have a big year to trigger the final four years and $48 million.

He didn't, and on Thursday the Broncos informed the former first-round pick they wouldn't be picking up his $1-million option bonus next month that would have guaranteed him another $21 million.

Okung, 29, could make up for all that lost money in free agency, where he can tout his starting 16 games as proof that he's recovered from shoulder surgery a year ago.

Teams, however, will also look at his 11 flags, two of which were declined, which tied for the team lead.


Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman says Adrian Peterson's status has not been decided, two weeks before the deadline for exercising an option on the running back's contract that would cost the club $18 million in 2017. Spielman addressed reporters Thursday for the first time since the Vikings finished 8-8 after a 5-0 start in 2016. He said he has not spoken with Peterson or his representatives since the end of the season. Peterson's hefty hit to the salary cap, which includes a $6 million roster bonus, has made his return uncertain. …

The New York Jets have released two veterans, tackle Breno Giacomini and kicker Nick Folk. Needing to free up salary cap room, the Jets let go of Folk, their second leading career scorer, and right tackle Giacomini on Thursday. That will save them about $7.5 million, $3 million for Folk and $4.5 million for Giacomini. … The Detroit Lions have signed offensive tackle Pierce Burton. The 6-foot-6, 305-pound Burton was on the Indianapolis Colts' practice squad last year. The former Mississippi standout was on practice squads in 2015 with the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. He was an undrafted rookie free agent in 2014 with the Minnesota Vikings. …

Bernie Custis, pro football's first black quarterback, has died. He was 88. Custis made pro football history on Aug. 29, 1951, when he became a starter with the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He starred at quarterback at Syracuse and was selected sixth overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 1951 NFL draft. But the former college roommate of Al Davis was told he'd play safety with the club, a move he resisted. The native of Washington opted to sign with Hamilton instead, starting every game in his first season in the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union, one of the leagues that would later form the Canadian Football League. Custis moved to running back the following season and in 1953 helped Hamilton win the Grey Cup 12-6 over Winnipeg. Custis finished his pro career with the Ottawa Rough Riders, playing running back in 1955-56.