The Jets submitted the necessary paperwork to the NFL on Tuesday to release the 17-year veteran quarterback in a salary-cap move. By cutting him Tuesday, the Jets will save $1.5 million on this year's cap. In 2005, Testaverde will count for $4 million.
Testaverde thanked the team for the opportunity to continue his career elsewhere in a statement released through his agent, Michael Azzarelli. The 40-year-old Testaverde is high on the Dallas Cowboys' list, where he would play for his former coach, Bill Parcells. Another team that could make a pitch is AFC East division rival New England.
The Jets are expected to make the announcement official Wednesday.
"I appreciate the Jets allowing me to move on with my career," Testaverde said. "I want to thank the organization for giving a chance to play in my hometown. It's been a great experience. We had some exciting moments on the field and memories I can take with me."
Testaverde became one of the most popular players in team history, but made it clear last season he didn't want to stick around as a No. 3 quarterback.
In 1998, he made the Pro Bowl and guided the Jets to the AFC title game with Parcells at the helm. But Testaverde tore his Achilles' tendon in the first game of the next season.
In 2001, the first year under coach Herman Edwards, Testaverde led the Jets to a 10-6 record and a wild-card playoff berth. But after that, his age began to show. And it was clear he didn't fit in with the West Coast-style offense used by offensive coordinator Paul Hackett.
Testaverde lost his starting job to Chad Pennington early in the 2002 season, and Pennington led the Jets from a 2-5 start into the playoffs. When Pennington broke his wrist last summer, Testaverde took over and went 2-5 as a starter before Pennington returned.
Despite the losing record, Testaverde became the ninth quarterback in NFL history to pass for over 40,000 yards last season.
Going into this season, second-year player Brooks Bollinger will be the backup.
Also Tuesday, the Jets decided they wouldn't retain the rights to defensive back Jamie Henderson, who sustained head injuries in a motorcycle accident near Atlanta on April 3.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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