Winston, 29, spent his first six seasons with the Houston Texans before signing with the Chiefs last offseason. He has started 103 games in his career including all 16 games last season for the team, which finished 2-14 and have the first pick in the NFL Draft next month. Winston was due to make $4.9 million in base salary next season.
The team also slapped the franchise tag on tackle Branden Albert, fueling speculation that the team is going to select Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel with that first pick.
"Just wanted to confirm that I have been released. Even though it was an incredibly tough year on and off the field last year, I wouldn't trade the relationships I made in KC and the overall experience I had for anything. It was an honor to be a Chief.But the best in the future.... On to the next adventure!" Winston wrote on Twitter.
Because he received an $8.4 million signing bonus, the acceleration results in a $6.3 million cap charge. That’s still $700,000 lower than it would have been if Winston had stayed — and also $4.9 million cheaper.