Dillon, Brunell among casualties

Being released for financial reasons doesn't signify that a player is washed up.

Updated: January 27, 2004, 10:48 AM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
Since free agency began in 1993, teams annually scour the list of available players to see who can help complement their existing talent base. Some of those players are on the market because they're contracts have expired and they want to offer their services to the highest bidder, but others are forced to search for new teams because they've been released in cap-related moves.

Mark Brunell could be the missing piece for a contender.
But being released for financial reasons doesn't signify that a player is washed up. Sometimes they may just be in a situation that is ill suited to their talents and a change of scenery is just the tonic they need to resurrect their careers. Such was the case with New England's Rodney Harrison and Carolina's Stephen Davis. Both players were in systems that clashed with their skill sets but once they latched on with teams that gave them a chance to shine, they played instrumental roles in leading their teams to the Super Bowl.

With the date for teams needing to get under the salary cap approaching, there will be other big names released this year. Granted, most of them will not have the impact of Harrison or Davis. In fact, most of them will have minimal impact, like Kordell Stewart, Dwayne Rudd, Brian Griese, Jay Riemersma and Emmitt Smith. But trying to handicap who could help change the fortunes of their new teams is far too tricky at this point, so it's better to list the biggest names that could be relinquished to the high-priced scrap heap.