The Cleveland Browns, in the first of what could be several moves in the coming weeks, released linebacker Jamie Collins on Wednesday.
Collins arrived in Cleveland at the trading deadline in 2016 from the New England Patriots. It was the type of “splash” move that excites fans and media members alike as Collins was coming off a Pro Bowl season that had him in line for a new contract.
Collins played the final eight games of that season with the Browns, finishing with 69 tackles and two sacks, earning a four-year, $50 million contract in the offseason. Collins got off to a decent start in 2017, but suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Detroit Lions in the sixth game of the season.
He returned in 2018, but his season was most notable for his inconsistent play. One moment Collins would be blowing up a running back in the backfield, the next he would be waving at the same running back as they ripped off a big run. He finished the season with a grade of 62.3 from Pro Football Focus, which put him as the 58th-ranked linebacker in the league.
Whether it was disinterest or the lingering effects of his knee injury, the Browns had seen enough. General manager John Dorsey spoke at last week’s NFL Scouting Combine about his intention to talk with Collins’ agent, and today’s news reveals the content of those discussions.
Collins’ contract with the Browns included $26.4 million in guaranteed money, and most of that was paid out in the first two years of the deal, according to Jared Dubin at CBS Sports, so the Browns will only carry $2.5 million in dead money this season on their cap, as opposed to the $11.75 million it would have cost to keep Collins on the roster. Either way, the Browns are not hurting for cap space.
The release of Collins leaves the Browns with a linebacker trio of Joe Schobert, Christian Kirksey and Genard Avery, so Dorsey is likely going to look to add another linebacker to the group in free agency or the draft.