The news dominated headlines across Chicago: linebacker Brian Urlacher has left the Bears. Having spent all 13 years of his NFL career in Chicago, Urlacher now needs a new home -- assuming a team wants the soon-to-be 35-year-old.
2 of 27Rick Kane/Icon SMI
The Indianapolis Colts chose to part ways with 33-year-old Dwight Freeney after his disappointing five-sack season in 2012. With four straight Pro Bowl seasons prior to 2012 and the excuse of having to play outside linebacker in the Colts' 3-4 scheme last year, Freeney could still make a strong case as the top defensive end available in free agency this year.
3 of 27John W. McDonough/SI
The 2009 first-round pick will don his second NFL jersey after the Arizona Cardinals released him. Wells has battled knee problems in his four-year career and missed eight games last season with a toe injury. Even when he was playing in 2012 he averaged just 2.7 yards per carry, a steep declined from his 4.3 yards per carry and 1,047 rushing yards in 2011.
4 of 27 Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
His reputation as one of the best run-stopping cornerbacks was enough to save Winfield in Minnesota. The Vikings released the 35-year-old cornerback, who was scheduled to make $7.25 million in 2013. Winfield had 100 tackles, three interceptions, 12 passes defended and a fumble recovery last season.
5 of 27Al Tielemans/SI
The AP's defensive player of the year in 2008 and a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Steelers, James Harrison was released after a contract impasse.
6 of 27 Morry Gash/AP
No longer the Defensive Player of the Year he was in 2009, the 36-year-old Woodson may be looking at one last shot with a contender after the Green Bay Packers released him. He led the NFL in interceptions with seven in 2011 but has noticeably lost a step since then.
7 of 27Alec Trautwig/Getty Images
The New York Giants' decision to release Bradshaw shows their faith that David Wilson can handle the workload as the primary back. It also makes a quality running back available on the open market. Bradshaw gained 4.6 yards per carry last season for 1,015 rushing yards and six touchdowns. At just 26, there's reason to believe he can continue to post strong numbers if he can show he's fit after undergoing foot surgery.
8 of 27John Raoux/AP
With the Jets looking to be over the projected 2013 salary cap, linebacker Bart Scott was cut by New York on Feb. 19. Scott's 36 total tackles were significantly fewer than the 60 tackles the 32-year-old had averaged over the prior three seasons.
9 of 27Jeff Moffett/Icon SMI
With Luke Joeckel looking like the probable No. 1 pick and Branden Albert getting the franchise tag, that left the Kansas City Chiefs with an overabundance of offensive tackles. The solution sent the right tackle Winston packing. Winston has started every game over the past six seasons, five of them spent with the Houston Texans. He signed a four-year, $22-million contract with the Chiefs last year but will once again be seeking a new team this offseason.
10 of 27AP
Michael Turner will seek his first new team since moving from LaDainian Tomlinson's backup to Atlanta's starter in 2008. A workhorse running back, he led the NFL in carries twice and topped 1,300 yards on the ground three times. However he showed considerable signs of wear in 2012, rushing for just 800 yards on a career-low 3.6 yards per carry. With Turner set to make a $6.4 million dent in their 2013 cap space, the Falcons cut him loose, paving the way for Jacquizz Rodgers.
11 of 27Leon Halip/Getty Images
Young may be lacking for suitors and will probably have to dangle in the uncertainties of free agency for a while. Such is the case for a mercurial wide receiver who got himself thrown out of Detroit for intentionally lining up incorrectly in a Week 14 loss to the Green Bay Packers, among other disciplinary issues. Now that the St. Louis Rams have released Young just 10 days after claiming him off waivers, he may be out of chances.
12 of 27 Lenny Ignelzi/AP
The 15-year linebacker will be moving out of San Diego after the Chargers released him. The two-time Pro Bowl selectee has seen his numbers decline in recent years but maintained his durability, starting every game over the past three seasons. Incredibly, despite 219 career games played, Spikes has never appeared in a playoff game.
13 of 27Jeff Roberson/AP
In two years in San Francisco, Akers rose to the pinnacle of his profession, only to just as suddenly crash down. The latter part of that elevator ride catalyzed the kicker's release from the 49ers. Akers set the record for made field goals in 2011, successfully booting 44 kicks in 52 attempts. He also tied the record for longest made field goal with a 63-yarder against the Green Bay Packers in the 2012 season opener. Akers' career took a stunning turn after that as he missed 13 of 42 regular season field goal attempts in 2012, the most in the league.
14 of 27 Jason Miller/Getty Images
The Buffalo Bills have made a point of parting ways with older defensive players this offseason, which meant the ouster of McGee, the 10-year Bills cornerback. The injury question will hurt McGee's value on the market as he has played just 22 games in the last three season with only 10 starts.
15 of 27Mark Duncan/AP
Collie missed all but one game in the 2012 season with a ruptured patellar tendon, and the Colts have told him he won't return to Indianapolis next season. The wide receiver's numbers fell in 2011 while Peyton Manning was injured, decreasing from 72.1 to 32.1 yards per game. His value as a free agent will depend on his health.
16 of 27 Jason O.Watson/Getty Images
After starting every game for the past two seasons for the Buffalo Bills, Barnett will be plying his trade for someone else in 2013. The newly released outside linebacker made 242 tackles, five sacks, three interceptions and four forced fumbles over the past two years for an otherwise disappointing Bills' defense.
17 of 27 Rich Kane/Icon SMI
After five years with the Jets, 32-year-old linebacker Calvin Pace was cut loose by New York. Despite being on the field for almost every defensive snap, Pace had just three sacks and 35 total tackles in 2012.
18 of 27Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Another casualty of the the Bills' defensive makeover under new head coach Doug Marrone, Wilson (#37) is on his way out of Buffalo, too. The strong safety made 98 tackles last season and defended five passes, starting every game. He had a big year in 2011 with six forced turnovers and 104 tackles in 13 games. Wilson has spent his entire seven-year career in Buffalo.
19 of 27Elsa/Getty Images
The New York Giants cut Boley, freeing up $4.5 million in cap space. A prized addition in 2009, the linebacker didn't fully live up to expectations, although he still was a solid contributor. Boley had three interceptions with two fumble recoveries and 91 tackles in 2012.
20 of 27Julio Cortez/AP
The longest-tenured player on the Eagles roster, Patterson was released in late-February, just over a year after undergoing brain surgery. A first-round draft pick in 2005 out of Southern California, he played in 115 games with 99 starts. He made 551 tackles, 16 1/2 sacks, had four forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.
21 of 27John W. McDonough/SI
A 10-sack season wasn't enough to spare John Abraham from the Atlanta Falcons chopping block. Abraham was the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal Falcons pass rush that got just 29 sacks in 2012. Abraham alone topped that mark over his past three seasons, including 13 in 2009. He also tied his career high with six forced fumbles last season. Although clearly still a dominant presence on the defensive line, Abraham, at 34, likely won't see any long-term guarantees from prospective teams.
22 of 27John W. McDonough/SI
The 10-year veteran no longer has a home in Houston after the Texans released him to free up $2.5 million in salary cap space. Playing opposite star wide receiver Andre Johnson, Walter had 41 catches for 518 yards and two touchdowns last season, his seventh with the Texans.
23 of 27John Raoux/AP
A five-year, $32.5 million contract signed last year bought Robinson little job security as the Jacksonville Jaguars released him this offseason. Robinson has struggled with lingering concussion symptoms that limited him to just seven games and 24 catches in 2012. The Jaguars said the wide receiver passed a physical in February 2013 and was completely healthy, but Robinson told the Associated Press "there's no way I could line up and play a game tomorrow."
24 of 27 Gail Burton/AP
With his $3 million base salary for 2013 guaranteed if he were on the Dallas Cowboys' roster on March 12, Sensabaugh was released by the Cowboys to free up $1.4 million in cap space. Sensabaugh's release leaves the Cowboys with a dearth of experience at safety, where he started for all but four games over the past four seasons. The eight-year veteran had 53 tackles and a forced fumble in 2012.
25 of 27Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
A revamp in the Vikings' wide receivers corps meant the end of the line for Jenkins in Minnesota. He caught 78 passes for 915 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons in Minnesota. His release means the Vikings have just five wide receivers under contract for 2013.
26 of 27 Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
The Dolphins' additions of Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler made Dansby expendable. The linebacker had 332 tackles, six sacks and three forced fumbles in three years with the Dolphins but was scheduled to be paid more than $6 million in 2013 with a cap hit of nearly $9 million.
27 of 27Kathy Willens/AP
Caught aging on a team in midst of a rebuild, McMichael is done in San Diego. The Chargers tight end spent three years backing up Antonio Gates and caught just nine passes last season. He'll be 34 in June, well removed from his most productive seasons in Miami in the early 2000s.
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