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Browns release C J.C. Tretter

Cost-cutting maneuver was needed

Las Vegas Raiders v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Browns have released their starting center J.C. Tretter in an apparent maneuver to help manage the salary cap, according to Adam Schefter:

Cleveland inked Tretter to a huge extension back in 2019 for three years worth $32.55 million. He was set to make $7.9 million this year with a cap hit of $9.86M. The move frees up $8.2 million in cap space with $1.6 in dead money.

Nick Harris is already on the roster and would become the new starting center in Tretter’s place. Harris was taken in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL draft so he is playing on fifth round money. He is currently on his third year that will pay him $895,000 in 2022.

Tretter was the rock of the offensive line, so the move is surprising. He was a locker room favorite and one of the team leaders since being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by the Green Bay Packers as an offensive tackle. He came to Cleveland in 2017 after an injury-plagued final year with the Packers and was signed during free agency.

He started all 16 games for the Browns in his first year, but at center. Two seasons in, he signed that big extension that would have kept in Cleveland through the 2022 season.

The 31-year old is also the President of the NFLPA having been re-elected to that post just two days ago. He ran unopposed.

On his re-election success, he stated:

“I’m excited for the opportunity to once again lead our union. My first term brought some unprecedented challenges, and it was an honor to work with our leadership and player membership to protect our wages as well as our health and safety. I am grateful to the Board of Player Reps for believing in me as we continue our efforts to advance the rights of all players.”

The Browns are known for having one of the best offensive lines in the league. Tretter was front-and-center with this regard. Harris was viewed as quality depth and has been inserted into multiple positions as starters were injured including 12 games at right guard in 2020.

While with Cleveland, Tretter has been very durable as he has started every game since arriving in Ohio with 80 starts. He was injured in 2020 on the same play that ended Odell Beckham, Jr.’s season against Cincinnati and was questionable with a knee injury in Week 17 against Pittsburgh this past year. With the 2021 season, Tretter played 1,038 snaps and allowed only one sack. His Pro Football Focus grade this past year was 78.7 and was ranked the #6 center out of 39 candidates.

Harris is the only offensive lineman listed as the backup to Tretter on the depth chart so a suitable body will need to be found or possibly switched. OG Hjalte Froholdt was signed to a reserve/futures contract on January 11 and played center and guard while at Arkansas.

The loss of Tretter and Jarvis Landry this week means two offensive leaders have been terminated from this roster.