Redskins release Cofield, Bowen

The Washington Redskins' offseason purge began with their defensive line as they released veterans Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen on Friday.

The moves occur one day after the Redskins signed veteran defensive end Ricky Jean Francois. By releasing Cofield, the Redskins will save $4.12 million in salary-cap space. His cap charge would have been $7.7 million had he been on the roster.

Cofield played four years with Washington, primarily at nose tackle. He never missed a game with the Redskins until this past season, when he dealt with a high ankle sprain as well as groin and abdominal issues that landed him on short-term injured reserve. He ended up playing in eight games. Before last season, Cofield had missed just one game in his first eight seasons.

Cofield played his first five seasons as a defensive tackle with the New York Giants. He switched to nose tackle in the Redskins' 3-4 upon signing with them in 2011, finishing his time in Washington with a combined nine sacks. In 2013, he recorded 36 tackles and 2.5 sacks. There's still a chance the Redskins could re-sign him later, according to a source. But Cofield also is dealing with an undisclosed injury issue.

Bowen's release saves the Redskins $5.5 million in cap space this season. He was scheduled to count $8.02 million against the cap, a hefty sum for a player who turns 31 later this month, has battled knee issues in recent years and had microfracture surgery late in the 2013 season.

Bowen spent the first half of last season on the physically unable to perform list. He returned for the final two games, though he was inactive twice in that period.

Bowen also played four years in Washington, mostly as the starting right end. But after starting all 32 games his first two years, he played in a combined 18 in the last two. He spent the first five seasons of his career with Dallas.