With the cap rising $10 million to a record $133 million, a crop of players quickly found new homes as soon as the market official opened Tuesday afternoon — and offensive linemen were a popular commodity.
Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert and the Miami Dolphins agreed to a five-year contract worth more than $45 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t made an announcement.
Left tackle Jared Veldheer and the Arizona Cardinals agreed to a five-year contract worth $35 million, with $17 million guaranteed. Veldheer left the Oakland Raiders, who replaced him by giving former Ram Rodger Saffold a five-year deal.
Two guards switched teams when the Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms with Jon Asamoah, who was with the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Washington Redskins struck a deal with Shawn Lauvao, who left the Cleveland Browns.
Also moving: kick returner and receiver Dexter McCluster, who agreed to terms with the Tennessee Titans, leaving the Chiefs; defensive end Arthur Jones, who joined the Indianapolis Colts from the Baltimore Ravens; defensive end Tyson Jackson and defensive tackle Paul Soliai, who both joined the Falcons; and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who left the Houston Texans to go to the Dolphins.
Still, Ware’s exit from Dallas was the most significant early development.
The 31-year-old Ware, who had 117 sacks and went to seven Pro Bowls while with the Cowboys, was set to count $16 million against the salary cap. By releasing him now, the Cowboys, who were right up against the cap, saved more than $7 million.
Ware had a career-low six sacks last season, his ninth in Dallas. He missed time with a thigh injury, then had offseason elbow surgery.
Others released included Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud, Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley and 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers.
Also, the Baltimore Ravens and left tackle Eugene Monroe reached agreement on a five-year contract.
Finding a way to retain the 26-year old Monroe was one of the Ravens‘ top priorities of the offseason. They now have the long-term answer at left tackle they have lacked since Jonathan Ogden retired following the 2007 season.
Monroe was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. He spent four-plus seasons with the Jaguars before being traded to Baltimore in October.
He started the final 11 games for the Ravens at left tackle.