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Monday, February 25, 2002
WRs Johnson, Jackson, corner Shaw released

By Len Pasquarelli

Moving to create much-needed salary cap room, the New England Patriots on Monday released a trio of veterans, including two players who appeared as reserves in the team's Super Bowl win. confirmed wide receivers Charles Johnson and Curtis Jackson and cornerback Terrance Shaw were all released. The transactions saved New England about $4 million against the club's 2002 salary cap total.

The Patriots also signed defensive tackle Jayce Saylor.

Shaw, 28, produced the largest savings since the Patriots will be rebated his scheduled 2002 base salary of $1.5 million and also a roster bonus of $1.5 million that was payable on March 15. The team will have to carry a minimal charge of about $12,000 as a prorated share of a signing bonus.

The seven-year veteran appeared in 13 games and started three for the Pats, and was used mostly as a "nickel" or "dime" defender. He played extensively in Super Bowl XXXVI as New England spent most of that game with five-, six- or seven-man secondaries.

He had 22 tackles from scrimmage and four passes defensed and also added four tackles playing on special teams units.

Johnson played in 14 games and started two. A former first-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he caught 14 passes for 111 yards and one touchdown. The team must carry $100,000 in prorated salary cap funds but will gain $1 million in cap relief by dumping Johnson's salary.

A second-year veteran, Jackson spent much of the season on injured reserve.

Saylor was the Patriots' first undrafted rookie since 1995 to start on opening day. He played two games and started one, making two tackles before being placed on injured reserve in October.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for The Associated Press contributed to this report.