Brandon Marshall posts farewell before release from Jets

Are the Jets giving up on 2017? (1:35)

Bill Polian wonders if the Jets have their eyes on a strong QB draft class in 2018 and aren't intent on winning in 2017. (1:35)

Continuing their roster purge, the New York Jets have released wide receiver Brandon Marshall, the team announced Friday.

"Brandon's commitment and passion for football is undeniable," Jets owner Woody Johnson said in a statement. "His drive to support mental health awareness is beyond admirable. We appreciate his contributions to the organization and wish him the best."

On Thursday, Marshall posted a farewell message on his Instagram account, thanking the Jets organization as well as "the incredibly loyal Jets fans." He also wrote in part, "I'm looking forward to finding a great organization where I can contribute and bring home a championship."

I want to thank Mr. Woody Johnson, Todd Bowles, Mike Maccagnan and Brian Heimerdinger for bringing me in and embracing me. They are all truly incredible people. My teammates, such a great group of guys whom I will miss like #Crazy 💚 And to all the great people that make it easy for us players to do what we do best. Clay Thank You. Jackie Thank You. Montelle Thank You. Szott Thank You. Jarred, Eric, Bruce, Nick, Meghan, Jesse Thank You. Andrew, Vito, Jim, Gus Thank You. John, Dave, Ezron, Greg, thank you. D you know you can cook.... Thank You. Justus, Aaron, George, Kevan thanks MeatHeads 🏋🏿‍♀️. Juan and Reynaldo I've never seen a facility so clean... Thank You. The New York media -- Manish, Kimberly, Rich, Brian, and so many more on the Beat -- they weren't nearly as scary as everyone told me they would be. I think you guys are people after all 😂. I actually cherished the media-- so much so that I have even become a part of it. I want to especially thank the incredibly loyal Jets fans, who were always there for us with their never-ending support. I'm sorry......I'm sorry we couldn't bring you a championship, but I wish you and my former organization the very best in your pursuit for one in the future. I'm looking forward to finding a great organization where I can contribute and bring home a championship. I know I have a lot left to give, and @michi_marshall and I will truly miss the Jets, but we are excited for what lies ahead. #MindOverMatter

A post shared by Brandon Marshall (@bmarshall) on

Marshall's release comes only a season removed from his rewriting the franchise record book for receiving. The two sides discussed the possibility of a return in 2017 -- a source close to Marshall told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the team offered a contract extension with no pay cut -- but they eventually decided to part ways. The Jets made no attempt to trade him, knowing it was a long shot.

The Jets are in the midst of a youth movement, and Marshall, who turns 33 on March 23, didn't fit their rebuilding plan.

"I've known Brandon a long time and, more than the great player he is, I'm proud of the man that he's become," coach Todd Bowles said in a statement. "His passion about mental health awareness speaks for itself and he was always willing to mentor our younger players. He cares deeply about the game and others and it shows in everything he does."

Marshall joined Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Breno Giacomini and Nick Folk as offseason salary-cap casualties, as the Jets -- coming off a 5-11 season -- have cleared more than $45 million this offseason in cap space.

The Jets saved $7.5 million by parting with Marshall, who was due to earn that much in the final year of his contract. Marshall said at the end of the season that he hoped to play several more years.

In 2015, the Jets voted Marshall the team's MVP. He set the franchise record for catches (109) and receiving yards (1,502) in a season. The well-traveled veteran then had one of his worst seasons in 2016, managing only 59 catches, 788 yards and three touchdowns.

Undermined, in part, by poor quarterback play, his catch percentage (receptions/targets) was only 46.7 percent, 143rd among 144 qualifying players.

The Jets evidently felt Marshall was expendable because they have promising young receivers, including Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson. His departure leaves them without a proven No. 1 target.

Eric Decker was a 1,000-yard receiver for the Jets in 2015, but his status is uncertain because of health issues. He underwent surgeries for hip and shoulder injuries last season, and it's unclear when he will return. There is a good chance he will miss training camp.

The Jets acquired Marshall in 2015 from the Chicago Bears, costing them a fifth-round pick. It was hailed as one of the best trades of the offseason, helping general manager Mike Maccagnan win NFL Executive of the Year.

"Brandon was an important addition in 2015," Maccagnan said in a statement. "He strives to make the most out of every opportunity and brought an unrivaled commitment to his craft. I'm sure he will continue with that same mindset as he moves forward."

Marshall distanced himself from his reputation as a locker room cancer, but there were a couple of flare-ups in 2016. He and teammate Sheldon Richardson engaged in a heated argument after a Week 3 loss in Kansas City.

That incident became a turning point for the Jets, players said, as they lost their next three games. Revis said the Marshall-Richardson altercation, which created hard feelings between them, cast "a black cloud" over the team.

Marshall is one of the most prolific receivers in the game -- only 59 receptions shy of 1,000 -- but he has yet to reach the postseason in his 11-year career.