Not quite keeping pace with the nonstop nature of Day 1 of free agency, Day 2 did include the Buccaneers releasing cornerback Darrelle Revis after failing to trade him; receiver Golden Tate leaving the Super Bowl champion Seahawks to play alongside All-Pro Calvin Johnson with the Lions; and the Browns cutting two quarterbacks, Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell.
The Revis move saved the Bucs a $1.5 million bonus that would have been due if he remained on the roster with his $16 million salary. It also freed up room under the cap for a continuing roster overhaul under new coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht.
With Broncos executive John Elway showing the same ability to close a deal that he did during his Hall of Fame career as a quarterback — and used two years ago to lure Peyton Manning to Denver — Ware’s first team visit resulted in a deal that includes $20 million in guaranteed money.
“It’s a perfect fit for me,” Ware said at a news conference.
He’ll pair with linebacker Von Miller to give AFC champion Denver a pair of quarterback chasers. Elway has been busy upgrading the defense during the first two days of the NFL’s free-agency period, adding cornerback Aqib Talib from the Patriots and safety T.J. Ward on Tuesday.
“Their mentality is a ‘now’ mentality,” Ware said about the Broncos. “Not looking forward to next season or the season after that. The time is now.”
The 31-year-old Ware had 117 sacks and went to seven Pro Bowls in nine seasons with the Cowboys. He had a career-low six sacks last season, when he missed time with a thigh injury, then had offseason elbow surgery.
The Cowboys made another move to clear cap space Wednesday, jettisoning receiver Miles Austin, as expected, saving about $5.5 million. Austin’s release is effective June 1. And they signed free agent defensive linemen Terrell McClain and Jeremy Mincey.
Revis, meanwhile, spent only one season with the Bucs, who got him from the Jets for a 2013 first-round draft pick and a 2014 fourth-round choice.
If Revis had still been on Tampa Bay’s roster by 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the Bucs would have needed to upgrade that 2014 draft pick to a third-rounder. The Bucs already signed a topflight cornerback, former Titans player Alterraun Verner, on Tuesday, when they also brought aboard defensive end Michael Johnson, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and tight end Brandon Myers.
Tampa Bay added a quarterback Wednesday by agreeing to a two-year contract with Josh McCown, a backup who got a chance to start five games last season for the Bears in place of an injured Jay Cutler.
A player expecting to be on the move soon was Carolina receiver Steve Smith, whose agent, Derrick Fox, told The Associated Press the five-time Pro Bowl pick “is not going to play for the Panthers next year.” Fox said he expected Smith to get cut, although Carolina was trying to trade him.