The Arizona Cardinals have released starting safety Antrel Rolle.
Thursday's move had been expected because the Cardinals wanted to avoid paying him the $4 million roster bonus and $8 million salary he is due.
General manager Rod Graves has indicated the team would be interested in re-signing Rolle. The team also has lost starting inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, who became an unrestricted free agent after being given the franchise tag the past two years.
In addition, Arizona tendered one-year qualifying contract offers to five players — wide receiver Steve Breaston, guard Deuce Lutui, center Lyle Sendlein, tight end Ben Patrick and nose tackle Gabe Watson.
Rolle was Arizona's first-round pick, the eighth selection overall, out of Miami in 2005. He began his pro career as a cornerback but had most of his success after being switched to safety in 2008.
In 68 regular-season games, 59 as a starter, Rolle had 12 interceptions, four forced fumbles and 1 1/2sacks. In six postseason games, Rolle had an interception and a fumble recovery.
Breaston received a first-round tender, which means that if another team makes an offer that Arizona decides not to match, the Cardinals would get a first-round draft pick as compensation. The other four players got second-round tenders, which gives Arizona the option of matching any offer or receiving a second-round draft pick from that team as compensation.
The two-time NFC West champions had a number of personnel issues to resolve as free agency approached. Starting left tackle Mike Gandy is a free agent and Matt Leinart is the lone quarterback under contract.
The Cardinals historically have not gone for a big name in free agency, opting instead to spread their money around.