Etherington has been associated with the Potters for the past five-and-a-half seasons, but after starting just five times during the last campaign, the midfielder will leave the Britannia Stadium.
The 32-year-old told The Mirror: "I have not played a lot lately. It has been a great time so I am really sad.
"But there are no hard feelings. I think that they are looking to go a different way."
Etherington departs Stoke having made 177 appearances for the club.