Browns waive CB Dimitri Patterson, Heckert's departure looming?

Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

The Cleveland Browns have waived cornerback Dimitri Patterson in a move that may be a sign of things to come.

This comes just about nine months after the 29-year-old veteran was re-signed by the Browns to a three-year deal worth $16 million, $6 million of it guaranteed, this past offseason.

It was a move that was very well received and one that roughly 91 percent of our readers wanted the team to make at the time for good reason. Patterson had a surprisingly promising season in 2011 even if only from his role as a nickel corner.

Football Outsiders ranked him among the top 10 cornerbacks in the league for success rate last season, whom they described as a "journeyman scrub on his fifth team who is suddenly having success."

Success Rate, to remind everyone, is the percentage of passes that don't manage to get at least 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent of needed yards on second down, or 100 percent of needed yards on third down.

Patterson-forating_medium

Despite the encouraging upswing to his career in 2011, he couldn't replicate the same success this season with Browns primarily due to an ankle injury he suffered in Week 5 against the New York Giants. Prior to that, he did see a huge portion of the snaps at first and second corner during to Joe Haden's suspension and Sheldon Brown's shoulder/neck injury. Both Patterson and second-year Buster Skrine were thrust into bigger roles.

Haden's absence, of course, had an undeniable negative impact on the secondary. They were burned by Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, and a slew of Bengals' and Giants' receivers in those four weeks. By the time Haden returned, Patterson was out with his own injury.

There's also the possibility of locker room issues as noted by a few Browns beat reporters on Twitter.

Another question remains: Was this Tom Heckert's or Joe Banner's move? The answer could be revealing.

There's little doubt that Patterson's contract in March was Tom Heckert's doing. Heckert brought Patterson to Philadelphia then did it again two years later with the Browns.

Banner has been widely described as a "salary cap expert." If this was largely Banner's decision and the move was motivated by what may have been viewed as a bad contract, that wouldn't reflect highly on how the new front office feels about the kind of job Heckert has done.

The Patterson re-signing headlined the 2012 free agency period for Cleveland, second only to Frostee Rucker's five-year $20.5 million deal.

It's also possible that this was Heckert's call stemming from Patterson's potential attitude problems and Banner was fine with signing off on it.

At the very least, we know Banner now has the final say.

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