Carolina coach Ron Rivera said Friday that the 12-year NFL veteran "set a great example on and off the field for our young players. We wish him well moving forward."
Edwards started 11 games in 2012, recording 16 tackles and one sack before an elbow injury ended his season. Edwards missed all over 2011 with a torn triceps after signing with Carolina. Edwards has played in 139 games with 96 starts, recording 239 tackles and 16.5 sacks.
Edwards also played for Buffalo Bills (2001-05) and Kansas City Chiefs (2006-10).
The Panthers considered Edwards a valuable run-stuffer whose primary job was to take up two blockers, allowing their linebackers to run free and make tackles. However, the fact he's missed 21 of 32 games due to injury since coming to the team didn't help his cause.
Despite restructuring the contracts of center Ryan Kalil, safety Haruki Nakamura, tight end Greg Olsen and tailback Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers are still about $6.5 million over the projected NFL salary cap.
The Panthers could clear an additional $7.9 million in salary cap if they release veteran cornerback Chris Gamble, who finished last season on injured reserve.
Carolina wants to re-sign their other starting defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, who had seven sacks last season after coming over from Buffalo. The Panthers have said re-signing Dwan Edwards, who is an unrestricted free agent, is one of their top priorities.