Source: Las Vegas Raiders releasing trailblazing DE Carl Nassib

HENDERSON, Nev. -- The Las Vegas Raiders are releasing defensive end Carl Nassib, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Nassib made headlines before the start of last season when he announced he was gay. In doing so, he became the first active openly gay player to play in the NFL. Last August, he said the reaction to his announcement had been "incredible."

Earlier this month, the Raiders donated $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention charity for LGBTQ+ youth. The Raiders' donation matched the contribution made by Nassib when he made his announcement.

Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN at the time of Nassib's announcement in June: "It's 2021. All the more power to Carl. It doesn't change my opinion of him as a person or as a Raider."

The release of Nassib was not unexpected and will come with a post-June 1 designation, which will give the Raiders a salary-cap savings of $8 million at the time, though there will be a $6.6 million dead-money hit. Las Vegas is also releasing linebacker Cory Littleton with the post-June 1 designation, which will give the Raiders another $11.75 million in cap savings then.

Nassib, 28, initially signed a three-year, $25.25 million free-agent deal with $16.75 million guaranteed with the Raiders in March 2020. He started five of 27 games for Las Vegas and had four combined sacks and an interception.

In 13 games last season, he had 21 tackles with 1.5 sacks, including a game-turning strip sack of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in overtime of the season opener.

"First couple of days, being out, the only out player, my body felt like Jell-O. I was very anxious," Nassib said in training camp. "But now, I just wanted to get this [media conference] over with, wanted to move on, just have a lot of clarity. I feel better today. I feel better than I did yesterday and the day before that. So, I'm looking forward to the future.

"I was definitely surprised by the big reaction. It was incredible. I thought nobody would care. But it was just such a good feeling to have all that support. I was glad to do my part to help bring visibility and representation to my community."

Nassib was a third-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns out of Penn State in 2016 and played the 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has 22 career sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 16 passes defended.

The Raiders also announced the release of linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski on Wednesday.

Kwiatkoski, who turns 29 in May, initially signed a three-year, $21 million free-agent contract with $13.75 million guaranteed with the Raiders in 2020. He was expected to man the middle of Las Vegas' defense, despite having never been a fulltime NFL starter in four previous seasons with the Bears.

He could not stay on the field in Las Vegas, though, starting all 12 of the games in which he appeared in in 2020 and playing in just eight games, with no starts, last season. Injuries (pectoral, concussion, ankle), ineffectiveness and the arrival of Denzel Perryman last season curtailed Kwiatkoski's Raiders career.

Kwiatkoski had an interception and two forced fumbles with a sack among his 102 tackles for the Raiders.