The Chicago Bears confirmed this Thursday in a one-sentence press release that veteran OT John Tait is retiring after 10 seasons in the NFL.
Tait singed with the Bears in 2004 and started at least 13 games in every season he played with the team.Â A nagging ankle injury led Tait to retire and voidÂ the last year of hisÂ six-year, $33 million contract.
Tait played collegiately at BYU and wasÂ the ChiefsÂ first-round draft pick in 1999.Â He spent his first five years in the league with Kansas City before leaving for Chicago as a free agent.
The Cleveland Browns have released starting RT Kevin Shaffer.Â Scout.com broke the news just recently about Cleveland saying good-bye to yet another large contract.
Shaffer was supposedly due a $1.5 roster bonus and carried a salary cap number of over $6 million for 2009. With his release, the team will save roughly $1.45 million in cap space.Â The team willÂ still account forÂ $4.56 million in dead money as a result of bonus money from the remaining four years of his deal.
Shaffer should draw some interest out on the open market but has been dogged by injuries throughout his career.
Cornerback Ken Lucas was released by the Carolina Panthers in a salary-cap savingÂ move this Wednesday.Â The transaction will clear $2.3 million off of Carolina’s 2009 cap.
Lucase,Â who struggled late last season, appearantly vetoed a deal to the Detroit Lions last month.
LucasÂ is now more famous for hisÂ in-practiceÂ scuffle between he andÂ Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith.Â Smith sucker punched Lucas in the face while Lucas was resting on one knee during the pre-season and served a 2 game team-impossed suspension.Â Lucas, who needed minor surgery on his nose, eventually forgave Smith.
The 30-year-old Lucas struggled late last season, when the Panthers’ defense became a weak point leading to their 33-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC divisional playoffs.
Last year’s nickel back, Richard Marshall, looks to be the front runner for Lucas’ vacant starting job opposite Chris Gamble, who signed a contract extension late last year.Â
Lucas originally signed a six-year, $36 million deal in 2005 after starting at cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks. Â He started 49 of 50 games for Carolina and had 13 interceptions.Â In eight NFL seasons, Lucas has 495 tackles and 24 interceptions.
The Chicago Bears have signedÂ free agent S Josh Bullocks to a one-yearÂ deal thatÂ includes $525,000 of guaranteed money.
The former second-round pick of the New Orleans Saints’ 2005 draft is expected to compete for the starting free safety job against Craig Steltz.
Bullocks started 49 of 62 career games played for the Saints.Â TheÂ former Nebraska CornhuskerÂ has registered 256 tackles and six interceptions in his four career yeas.Â Bullocks twin brother, Daniel, plays safety for the Detroit Lions.
Star runningback LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers have finally come to an agreement.Â General Manager AJ Smith and Tomlinson had been trading words via the media for the last three months but it appears things have cooled down, as the two sides came to a resolution this Tuesday.
According to Yahoo Sports,Â the restructured deal allows Tomlinson to keep his base salary ofÂ $6.725 million but his prorated signing bonus will be converted to later years of the contract.
Tomlinson agreed to reduce his base salaries in 2010 and 2011, but he will be able to earn the money back via incentives. Â The Chargers will be paying their backfield roughlyÂ $13 million now with Darren Sproles netting $6.6 million(Franchise Tag)Â and Tomlinson making his base salary of $6.725 million.
Tomlinson was due $24 million over the next three seasons, including $6,725,000 in 2009.Â His salary cap number would have been $8.8 million in 2009, including a prorated share of the signing bonus from his 2004 contract.
Tomlinson started the season off with a toe injury andÂ then proceed to hurt his groin in the season finale.Â He was forced out the playoff win against the Colts and sat out the Steelers game, which resulted in a loss for the Bolts.
Look for the Chargers to extend Sproles to a long-term deal before the season starts.Â I also expect that San Diego will release Tomlinson next off-season, as his signing bonus will be astronomic.
The St. Louis Rams have announced that tackle Orlando Pace has been officially released.Â This move willÂ save theÂ Rams $5.975 million against the 2009 salary cap.
The seven-time Pro Bowler will be changing jerseys for the first time in 12 years.Â It remains to be seen how much Pace has left in the tank, as he was injured for much of 2006 and 2007.Â HeÂ did, however, playÂ most of last season.
Though heâ€™s no longer among the best left tackles in the game, heâ€™s better than most left tackles on most other NFL teams.Â It shouldn’tÂ take long for Pace to find a new home, especially since there’s always a need for quality tackles.