CLEVELAND – In a move that has been discussed since the end of the season, the Browns officially released linebacker Jamie Collins, Wednesday.
Last week at the NFL Scouting Combine, Browns general manager John Dorsey publicly revealed that he was going to meet with Collins’ agent about his client’s future with the team. Restructuring his contract was one option Dorsey mentiomed, but in the end the two parties opted to split.
In a statement, Dorsey addressed the move, thanking Collins for his services the last two and a half seasons.
“We want to thank Jamie for his contributions to the Cleveland Browns,” Dorsey said. “These types of decisions are never easy. Jamie is a respected veteran player in this league and we wish him the best as he continues his career.”
In a Tweet, Collins responded with a thank of his own to the organization.
Thanks for everything @Browns 💯
— Jamie Collins (@j_collins91) March 6, 2019
The 29-year-old linebacker was due $11.75 million in 2019, including a $10 million base salary and $500,000 in workout and roster bonuses which would have been due to him near the start of the new league year. In 2020 that base salary figure would have jumped to $12 million. By cutting ties with Collins the Browns will save $9.25 million in cap space this offseason. They will absorb a $2.5 million dead cap hit, consisting of the two final installments of his prorated signing bonus.
Cleveland initially acquired the veteran linebacker via a trade with New England during the 2016 campaign. The following January, former Browns GM Sashi Brown re-signed Collins to a four-year contract extension worth $50 million, including $26.4 million guaranteed.
Despite leading all Browns defenders in tackles last season, the Cleveland simply wasn’t getting the playmaking ability out of Collins that they hoped for. In fact, there were multiple weeks where he was practicaly non-existent.
The money saved on Collins will give the Browns over $85 million in cap space to use in free agency, which begins on March 13th.