Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) dodges a tackle by New England Patriots defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard (93) on a four-yard keeper in the third quarter at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on October 2, 2016. The Bills defeated the Patriots 16-0. Photo by Matthew Healey/ UPI | License Photo
March 9 (UPI) -- As the countdown hurtles toward Thursday's 4 p.m. start of the new league year, Wednesday was another busy day as NFL teams tried to re-sign their own players while negotiating with players from other teams.
While several agreements were reported, the most noteworthy news of the day was the apparent decision by the Dallas Cowboys to release quarterback Tony Romo on Thursday. It is also believed that Dallas will wait until after the start of the league year to officially make the transaction so Romo can be designated as a post-June 1 cut.
On the roster, Romo would count $24.7 million against the salary cap. If released prior to June 2, the cap charge would be $19.6 million in 2017.
With the post-June 1 designation, Romo will be free to sign with another team while counting that $24.7 million through June 1. After June 1, Romo will count $10.7 million against the 2017 cap with $8.9 million rolling over into 2018.
The Cowboys weren't able to find a trade partner for Romo, so he will be free to sign with any team when his contract is terminated. The Denver Broncos are believed to be the most likely destination if Romo finds contract terms acceptable.
In a related story, quarterback Josh McCown visited Dallas as the Cowboys look for a veteran to back up Dak Prescott.
Other quarterback news was also made when the Buffalo Bills and Tyrod Taylor agreed to a contract restructuring that reduces $30.75 million in guarantees remaining on his contract. Taylor will receive a $7 million signing bonus, and his cap charge for next season decreases from $16 million to less than $10 million.
In explaining the decision to bring Taylor back, new head coach Sean McDermott said: "You start with the character of the individual we're talking about here. I had a chance to get to know Tyrod a little bit and I've done my research. So, the character and then secondly, the work ethic.
"I've had a chance to observe him and his rehab (from sports hernia surgery) a little bit, and the process he's gone through to get himself healthy, and that's been very admirable on all ends -- and then, the toughness component," McDermott added. "When I look at the quarterback position and the toughness that he embodies is very -- (they) are great qualities. You start there, and you get into his skill set, the number of games that they've had a chance to win in the last two years since Tyrod's been here. That's really how it progressed and, really, the things that I looked at were the intangibles."
Capping the day for quarterbacks was quarterback Brian Hoyer (Chicago Bears) agreeing to terms on a two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons re-signing Matt Schaub for two years and $9 million. The Hoyer deal apparently will end speculation that Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins will be traded to San Francisco.
Other unrestricted free agents reportedly agreeing to terms were tackle Rick Wagner (Ravens) on a deal averaging more than $9 million a year with the Lions; wide receivers Pierre Garcon (Redskins) and Marquise Goodwin (Bills), and fullback Kyle Juszczyk (Ravens) with the 49ers; fullback Patrick DiMarco (four years, $8.5 million) with the Bills; safety Barry Church (Cowboys) on a four-year deal with the Jaguars; and linebacker Paul Worrilow (Falcons) for one year with the Lions.
Recently released by the New York Jets, wide receiver Brandon Marshall signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the New York Giants. Marshall said he had interest from multiple teams and that the Giants "did not offer me the most money." He added, "It probably was the least amount of money. It was all about championships. To get straight to the point - it was all about a championship, they presented the best opportunity to be in a championship organization."
The Ravens terminated the contract of linebacker Elvis Dumervil, but general manager Ozzie Newsome said, "We have not closed the door on the possibility of him returning in the future." ... The 49ers waived center Marcus Martin and officially terminated the contract of safety Antoine Bethea after announcing the move Wednesday night. Tennessee terminated the contract of defensive tackle Al Woods and Buffalo terminated wide receiver Marcus Easley's contract. Since the Super Bowl, 44 players have been released by NFL teams. Combined, those players played in 379 games last season with 198 starts. Nineteen ended the season on a reserve list.
Miami re-signed defensive end Andre Branch to a three-year deal worth $27 million. Branch had 49 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2016. ... With Garcon apparently signing with San Francisco, wide receiver Kenny Britt (Rams) appears headed to the Eagles. ... Potential UFA wide receiver Brice Butler agreed to a one-year deal with the Cowboys. ... Bengals UFA wide receiver Brandon LaFell re-signed for two years, while Washington re-signed UFA tight end Vernon Davis for three years. ... The Colts and Patriots reportedly agreed on a trade that will send tight end Dwayne Allen to New England. It will become official after the start of the league year along with previously revealed deals sending offensive tackle Branden Albert from Miami to Jacksonville, and tight end Julius Thomas from the Jaguars to the Dolphins.
Following is a transactions recap, and free-agent rankings.
Arizona re-signed potential UFA TE Jermaine Gresham (four years); potential ERFA QB Zac Dysert.
Carolina re-signed potential UFAs DE Charles Johnson, S Colin Jones, RB Fozzy Whittaker (all two years); potential RFA WR Brenton Bersin.
Detroit re-signed potential RFA DT Khyri Thornton (two years).
Houston signed potential UFAs K Nick Novak and P Shane Lechler.
Indianapolis re-signed potential UFA TE Jack Doyle (was 20th in top 25); placed T/G Joe Reitz on reserve/retired.
Jacksonville re-signed potential UFA G Patrick Omameh.
Los Angeles Chargers terminated contracts of G/T D.J Fluker, WR Stevie Johnson and CB Brandon Flowers.
New Orleans re-signed potential RFA S Chris Banjo (two years).
Philadelphia re-signed potential ERFA S Jaylen Watkins.
San Francisco terminated contract of WR Torrey Smith.
Atlanta re-signed UFA QB Matt Schaub (two years, $9 million).
Baltimore terminated contract of LB Elvis Dumervil
Buffalo agreed to restructured contract with QB Tyrod Taylor; re-signed potential RFA P Colton Schmidt; reached agreement with UFA fullback Patrick DiMarco (Falcons/four years, $8.5 million); agreed to terms with FA FB Mike Tolbert; terminated contract of WR Marcus Easley.
Dallas re-signed UFA WR Brice Butler (one year).
Green Bay re-signed ERFA P Jacob Schum.
Jacksonville reached agreement with UFA safety Barry Church (Cowboys/four years).
Los Angeles Chargers re-signed potential UFA S Jahleel Addae (four years).
Miami re-signed UFA DE Andre Branch (three years, $27 million).
New York Giants signed FA WR Brandon Marshall (two years, $12 million; was 18th in top 25).
San Francisco reached agreement with UFA QB Brian Hoyer (Bears/two years); placed C Marcus Martin on waivers; terminated contract of S QAntoine Bethea.
Tennessee terminated contract of DT Al Woods.
Washington re-signed potential UFA TE Vernon Davis (three years).
*Indicates player that has been released. Age is in parentheses.
Players with reported agreements to join new teams will remain on the list until the deals are officially announced.
BEST OF THE BEST
1. OLB Nick Perry, Green Bay (27 in April)
2. CB A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August)
3. WR DeSean Jackson, Washington (31 in December)
4. DT Dontari Poe, Kansas City (27 in August)
5. G Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati (27 on March 8)
6. LB Dont'a Hightower, New England (27 on March 12)
7. QB Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay (28 in December)
8. NT Brandon Williams, Baltimore (28)
9. DE/DT Calais Campbell, Arizona (31 in September)
10. WR Alshon Jeffery, Chicago (27)
11. T Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October)
12. WR Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland (28 in June)
13. OLB Erik Walden, Indianapolis (32 in August)
14. CB Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September)
15. CB Logan Ryan, New England (26)
16. CB Marcus Cooper, Arizona (27)
17. S Tony Jefferson, Arizona (25)
18. G T.J. Lang, Green Bay (njury; 30 in September)
19. S Barry Church, Dallas (29)
20. TE Martellus Bennett, New England (30 on March 10)
21. T Matt Kalil, Minnesota (28 in July)
22. T Riley Reiff, Detroit (29 in December)
23. G Larry Warford, Detroit (G; 26 in June)
24. QB Brian Hoyer, Chicago (32 in October)
25. DT Johnathan Hankins, N.Y. Giants (25 on March 30)
Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay (28 in December)
Brian Hoyer, Chicago (32 in October)
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco (30 in November)
Ryan Fitzpatrick, N.Y. Jets (35 in November)
Geno Smith, N.Y. Jets (27 in October)
*Josh McCown, Cleveland (38 in July)
Matt McGloin, Oakland (28 in December)
EJ Manuel, Buffalo (27 on March 19)
Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco (28 in October)
Mark Sanchez, Dallas (31 in November)
DeSean Jackson, Washington (31 in December)
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago (27)
Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland (28 in June)
Kenny Stills, Miami (25 in April)
*Torrey Smith, San Francisco (28)
Pierre Garcon, Washington (31 in August)
Kenny Britt, L.A. Rams (29 in September)
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota (26 on March 17)
Anquan Boldin, Detroit (37 in October)
Ted Ginn Jr., Carolina (32 in April)
Robert Woods, Buffalo (25 in April)
Terrance Williams, Dallas (28 in September)
Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh (26)
Kendall Wright, Tennessee (28 in November)
*Victor Cruz, N.Y. Giants (31 in November)
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay (34)
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (32 on March 21)
LeGarrette Blount, New England (31 in December)
Latavius Murray, Oakland (27)
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay (27 June)
Darren McFadden, Dallas (30 in August)
*Rashad Jennings, N.Y. Giants (32 on March 26)
Christine Michael, Green Bay (27 in November)
Benny Cunningham, L.A. Rams (27 in July)
Danny Woodhead, L.A. Chargers (32)
*James Starks, Green Bay (31)
DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh (34 in April)
Tim Hightower, New Orleans (31 in May)
Chris Johnson, Arizona (32 in September)
*Jamaal Charles, Kansas City (31 in December)
Kyle Juszczyk, Baltimore (FB; 26 in April)
*Mike Tolbert, Carolina (FB; 32 in November)
Martellus Bennett, New England (30 on March 10)
Jared Cook, Green Bay (30 in April)
Dion Sims, Miami (26)
Jordan Cameron, Miami (29 in August)
Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October)
Russell Okung, Denver (29 in October)
Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati (36 in December)
Matt Kalil, Minnesota (28 in July)
Riley Reiff, Detroit (29 in December)
Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville (G; 26 in November))
Kelvin Beachum, Jacksonville (28 in June)
Andre Smith, Minnesota (30)
Ryan Clady, N.Y. Jets (31 in September)
*Breno Giacomini, N.Y. Jets (32 in September)
Menelik Watson, Oakland (29 in December)
Gosder Cherilus, Tampa Bay (33 in June)
Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati (G; 27 on March 8)
T.J. Lang, Green Bay (G; 30 in September)
Larry Warford, Detroit (G; 26 in June)
Ronald Leary, Dallas (G; 28 in April)
JC Tretter, Green Bay (C; 26)
*Nick Mangold, N.Y. Jets (C; 33)
*D.J. Fluker, San Diego (T; 26 on March 13)
Chris Chester, Atlanta (G; 34)
Chance Warmack, Tennessee (G; 26 in September)
Ted Larsen, Chicago (G/C; 30 in June)
Joe Hawley, Tampa Bay (C; 29 in October)
Jermon Bushrod, Miami (G/T; 33 in August)
*Brandon Fusco, Minnesota (G; 29 in July)
Calais Campbell, Arizona (DT; 31 in September)
Jabaal Sheard, New England (28 in May)
*Mario Williams, Miami (32)
Damion Square, L.A. Chargers (DT; 28)
Chris Baker, Washington (30 in October)
Chris Long, New England (32 on March 28)
Dontari Poe, Kansas City (27 in August)
Brandon Williams, Baltimore (28)
Bennie Logan, Philadelphia (28 in December)
Nick Fairley, New Orleans (29)
Alan Branch, New England (33 in December)
Johnathan Hankins, N.Y. Giants (25 on March 30)
Domata Peko, Cincinnati (33 in November)
Vince Wilfork, Houston (possibly retiring; 36 in November)
Jonathan Babineaux, Atlanta (36 in October)
Karl Klug, Tennessee (29 on March 31)
Tyrunn Walker, Detroit (27 on March 18)
Nick Perry, Green Bay (27 in April)
Erik Walden, Indianapolis (32 in August)
John Simon, Houston (27 in October)
DeMarcus Ware, Denver (35 in July)
Julius Peppers, Green Bay (37)
Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo (34 in May)
Courtney Upshaw, Atlanta (28 in December)
Dont'a Hightower, New England (27 on March 12)
Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh (31 in May)
Malcolm Smith, Oakland (28 in July)
Kevin Minter, Arizona (27 in December)
Akeem Dent, Houston (30 in September)
*D'Qwell Jackson, Indianapolis (34 in September)
Manti Te'o, L.A. Chargers (26)
A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August)
Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September)
Logan Ryan, New England (26)
Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May)
Marcus Cooper, Arizona (27)
Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati (28 in October)
Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June)
Morris Claiborne, Dallas (27)
*Nickell Robey-Coleman, Buffalo (25)
Nolan Carroll, Philadelphia (30)
Captain Munnerlyn, Minnesota (29 in April)
*Leodis McKelvin, Philadelphia (32 in September)
*Sam Shields, Green Bay (30 in December))
*Justin Gilbert, Pittsburgh (26 in November)
Tony Jefferson, Arizona (25)
Barry Church, Dallas (29)
T.J. McDonald, L.A. Rams (26)
Chris Conte, Tampa Bay (28)
Quintin Demps, Houston (32 in June)
Duron Harmon, New England (26)
Micah Hyde, Green Bay (27 in December)
Phil Dawson, San Francisco (K; 42)
Greg Zuerlein, L.A. Rams (K; 30 in December)
*Dan Carpenter, Buffalo (K; 32 in November)
*Nick Folk, N.Y. Jets (33 in November)
Steven Hauschka, Seattle (K; 32 in June)
Robbie Gould, N.Y. Giants (K; 36 in December)
Jeff Locke, Minnesota (P; 28 in September)