Lichtensteiger was scheduled to count $4.05 million against the salary cap. His retirement will free $3.5 million in cap space; the Redskins entered the day with approximately $60 million in cap space.
Lichtensteiger, 31, joined the Redskins in 2010 under then-coach Mike Shanahan, who had drafted him in Denver two years earlier. Lichtensteiger was an undersized player who ended up starting 75 games for the Redskins at guard and then center. He started 37 games at left guard from 2011-13 before converting to center.
Injuries ruined his last two seasons, as he missed a combined 24 regular-season games because of nerve damage in his shoulder (2015) and a calf injury (2016). He was replaced as a starter by third-year Spencer Long, whom the Redskins viewed as their center of the future.
The Redskins liked Lichtensteiger, despite his weighing approximately 295 pounds, because of his smarts at center and his mindset.
"Kory defied the odds of being undersized because of his competitive spirit, accountability and attention to detail," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said in a statement. "It also helps to be tough as hell. We want to thank Kory for his relentless effort and leadership and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
Lichtensteiger said in a statement he told team president Bruce Allen and general manager Scot McCloughan of his plans shortly after the season ended.
"When I came to them after the season and shared my thoughts, they were extremely gracious and agreed to let me to 'retire a Redskin,'" Lichtensteiger said in a statement. "This is a great business, but it is indeed a business. And for that reason, I am thankful to be treated as family in the final hour of my playing career."