(CBS) — The Chicago Bears have terminated the contract for defensive end Julius Peppers, according to a team release.

The move was made to free up cap space, as the Bears save $13.9 million in cash and $9.8 million in cap space. They also add $8.3 million in dead money. This is a large sum of dead money, but the freed-up cash will be used immediately to cover new signing bonuses, and it completely removes Peppers money from the books after the 2014 season.

The 34-year-old Peppers’ release had long be speculated about, as the Bears have stated their desire often to get younger on defense after the team set franchise records for futility on that side of the ball in 2013.

Earlier Tuesday, the Bears had signed defensive end Lamarr Houston (five years, $35 million), linebacker D.J. Williams and safety Ryan Mundy.

“We appreciate Julius’ contributions to the Bears over the last four years,” Bear general manager Phil Emery said in a press release. “He was a leader on our defense starting every game since coming to Chicago. His accomplishments over his NFL career place him among the best defensive ends over the past 20 years. The Chicagoland community has benefited greatly from his quiet generosity. We wish him the best.”

Peppers signed with the Bears as a free agent from the Carolina Panthers in 2010. In four seasons with the Bears, Peppers started all 64 games and had 38 sacks, three interceptions and nine forced fumbles.