NEW YORK — Tone Time is over for the New York Jets.
The Jets parted ways with wide receiver Santonio Holmes on Monday, cutting the talented but injury-plagued playmaker after four seasons.
The move, which had been expected, saves the Jets $8.25 million, which Holmes was due to make as his base salary this season. He was also scheduled to have a $10.75 million cap number, a lofty total for a one-time Super Bowl MVP who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency the last two seasons.
The Jets also released cornerback Antonio Cromartie on Sunday, clearing $17.75 million of salary cap space before the NFL's free agency period starts today. New York could also save another $8.3 million if they cut quarterback Mark Sanchez, who missed last season with a shoulder injury.
Holmes, who turned 30 last Monday, had 23 catches — the second-lowest total of his career — for 456 yards and a touchdown in 11 games last season. He missed five games midway through the season with a hamstring injury. Holmes played in just four games in 2012 and was sidelined for several months after suffering a career-threatening foot injury.
In December, Holmes said he would be willing to restructure his contract to remain a member of the Jets, adding that how much of a pay cut he'd be asked to take probably wouldn't play into his decision to want to stay.
"I appreciate Tone's contributions over the last four seasons," coach Rex Ryan said in a statement. "I've always admired his knack for making the clutch play. He's a tremendous competitor who wants the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. I wish him nothing but the best."
Holmes signed a five-year, $45 million deal before the 2011 season after a solid first year with the Jets, who acquired him from Pittsburgh for a fifth-round draft pick. He agreed to restructure his contract in March 2012, when he took a $3.5 million cut to his scheduled base salary of $11 million for last season.
Holmes was a controversial figure at times during his tenure with the Jets, butting heads with Sanchez and the team's offensive linemen during the 2011 season. In the season finale at Miami, he got into an argument with offensive tackle Wayne Hunter in the huddle and was benched for the rest of the game.
The mercurial wide receiver also had a contentious relationship with the media, keeping his answers short during most group interviews. He inadvertently made headlines last season when he called Carolina's secondary the Panthers defense's "weakest link" while trying to credit the unit — but providing bulletin board for an opponent that went out and beat the Jets 30-20.
Holmes was a first-round draft pick by the Steelers out of Ohio State in 2006 and was selected the Super Bowl MVP in his third season after he caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger with 35 seconds left to lead Pittsburgh past Arizona.
He had his best statistical performance the following season with 79 catches for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns. But Holmes was traded to the Jets the following offseason after the Steelers tired of his numerous legal troubles.
Holmes was suspended for his first four games with the Jets for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, but quickly became one of the team's primary playmakers when he returned. He played a key role in three straight wins with big catches late in games, prompting Ryan to label those types of clutch moments as "Tone Time."
He also helped lead the Jets to their second straight AFC title game appearance, in which they lost to Holmes' former team.
Holmes has 381 career catches for 5,963 yards and 36 touchdowns in eight NFL seasons.
A person familiar with the discussions has told The Associated Press the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams have expressed interest in signing three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd once the NFL's free agency period opens.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because talks have not been made public. The person revealed those three teams specifically as having contacted Byrd's representatives since the NFL allowed discussions with prospective free agents Saturday.
The signing period opens today.
Byrd is among the top defensive backs set to hit the market after a solid five-year stint with the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo chose not to apply its franchise tag and retain Byrd's rights for a second consecutive year.
The Chicago Bears have released seven-year veteran running back Michael Bush.
Chicago will save $2.85 million with the move, clearing $1.85 million in 2014 salary cap space. Mostly a backup in his career, Bush started 20 of 89 games in seven seasons with Oakland (2007-11) and Chicago (2012-13), rushing for 3,250 yards with 29 touchdowns. He added 1,010 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 104 receptions.
As a second-stringer behind Matt Forte with the Bears, Bush had 177 rushing attempts for 608 yards and eight touchdowns. He added 13 receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown in 28 games, one of them a start.
A fourth-round selection (100th overall) by the Raiders in the 2007 draft out of Louisville, Bush sat out the 2007 season due to a leg injury.
Miami Dolphins billionaire owner Stephen Ross has decided to pay the entire tab for up to $400 million in renovations to the team's stadium, although he wants his property taxes reduced.
The upgrades would help keep South Florida competitive in bidding for Super Bowls and college football's championship games.
Stymied in his efforts to secure public money, Ross will soon announce he's going to pay for the project himself, two people familiar with the situation said Monday. Both people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Ross hasn't spoken publicly about his new financing plan.
Ross is seeking $2 million to $4 million a year in property tax reductions and has had discussions with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, one of the people said. The Dolphins would continue to pay some property taxes, the person said.
Ross, who owns the stadium, decided to pay for the renovations himself because applications for the 2018 Super Bowl are due in August and he wants to get the process started. Renovations will include a partial canopy to shade seats that are now exposed, installing new seats and moving others closer to field, and upgrading the club level.
Ross, 73, is a New York real estate developer with an estimated net worth of $4.8 billion.