CB-KR Darrien Gordon, whose career 13.2-yard punt return average is an NFL best, signed a free agent contract with the Raiders, who released WR-KR Desmond Howard.

Gordon, a six-year veteran, played the past two years with the Super Bowl champion Broncos. He has started in three Super Bowls overall. Terms of his agreement were not released.

The Raiders released Howard, a former Redskin and the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner from Michigan. Howard was the MVP of the Super Bowl in 1997 with the Packers and signed with the Raiders that offseason. . . .

Meanwhile, the Broncos signed C Clay Shiver, who started 25 games for the Cowboys the last two years. The club released no details of the contract.

NEW DEAL FOR MARINO? Dan Marino will likely sign a two-year contract extension with the Dolphins before the week is out, his agent said.

"I would say it's probable," Marvin Demoff told the Miami Herald yesterday. "I'd like to get it done. . . . I'm going on vacation for two weeks next week."

Marino's contract, which is entering its final season, calls for a cap value of a little more than $7.14 million. The long-discussed deal is likely to include a signing bonus of about $6.4 million and is meant to create salary cap space for the team.

PATRIOTS CUT CANTY: CB Chris Canty, the Patriots' first-round draft choice in the 1997 draft, was released.

EAGLES RELEASE WILLIS: The Eagles released starting MLB James Willis and re-signed RB James Bostic to a one-year contract.

JETS SIGN MEGNA: The Jets signed LB Marc Megna, a sixth-round selection in this year's draft.