The move comes on the heels of the Colts making a blockbuster trade with the New York Jets to acquire multiple draft picks. The Jets acquired the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft in exchange for the No. 6 overall pick, two second-round selections in this draft (Nos. 37 and 49) and a second-round pick in 2019 to the Colts.
Hankins recorded 44 tackles and 2.0 sacks in 15 games last season with the Colts, with whom he signed a three-year, $30 million deal April 13.
The timing of the release is important as $4.5 million of his $8.5 million salary for 2018 was due to become fully guaranteed as of Sunday.
Hankins, who is listed at 6 feet 2, 325 pounds, has collected 184 tackles, 12.0 sacks, seven passes defensed and three forced fumbles in 67 career games with the New York Giants and Colts.