Confident that some of their young players are ready to move into top backup roles, the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday afternoon released offensive lineman Larry Moore, making him an unrestricted free agent.
An eight-year veteran, Moore, who can play center or guard, has appeared in 96 regular-season games, with 73 starts. But in two seasons with the Bengals, he was limited to 17 appearances and just one start. Moore finished the 2005 season on injured reserve with a dislocated right knee, and played in just four contests.
Moore, 31, was entering the final year of his contract and was scheduled to make a minimum base salary of $710,000. Cincinnati will be rebated that money into its 2006 salary cap.
The Bengals boast one of the NFL's top guard tandems in Eric Steinbach and Bobbie Williams. During the offseason, Williams signed a three-year contract extension. Steinbach is entering the final year of his deal and, minus an extension, will be eligible for unrestricted free agency next spring, but the two sides have been in discussions on an extension for months.
In the past, the Bengals lacked depth on the offensive line, particularly at the three interior positions. But Bengals coaches feel that second-round choice Andrew Whitworth, a tackle at LSU who has been very impressive in offseason practices, can move inside to guard, if necessary. The staff also has a high regard for second-year veterans Eric Ghiaciuc and Ben Wilkerson, who are principally centers but can also play guard.
Given the new-found comfort level with the younger players, the Bengals felt Moore was expendable.
A former Brigham Young standout, Moore originally entered the league with Seattle, as an undrafted college free agent in 1997. He made his first NFL roster in 1998, with Indianapolis, and averaged 13.7 starts for the Colts in one three-year stretch. He signed with Washington as a free agent in 2002 and then with the Bengals in 2004.
If he is healthy, Moore could garner some interest from teams seeking to add an experienced and versatile interior blocker for training camp.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.