The Cleveland Browns are expected to part ways with linebacker Tae Davis and backup cornerback Terrance Mitchell — two players who were special teams fixtures in recent years.
Davis was a restricted free agent but the Browns have reportedly decided to let him walk rather than tendering the former undrafted free agent out of Chattanooga. The report comes via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The #Browns aren't tendering LB/special teamer Tae Davis, source said. He'll be a free agent.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 13, 2021
If the Browns had tendered Davis, they would have been locked into a one-year contract worth a little more than $2.3 million if he didn’t sign with another team.
With the cap going down, the Browns would rather keep their options open, the possibility that Davis could re-sign eventually anyway at a lower number.
Browns Also Letting Tavierre Thomas Hit Free Agency
The Browns are also planning to let Thomas hit unrestricted free agency, per Pelissero.
“With the salary cap set to drop, the Browns don’t plan to tender CB and special teams ace Tavierre Thomas, source said,” Pelissero reportered. “Thomas would’ve been a restricted free agent. Instead, he’ll hit the market.”
With the salary cap set to drop, the #Browns don't plan to tender CB and special teams ace Tavierre Thomas, source said. Thomas would've been a restricted free agent. Instead, he'll hit the market. Look for similar moves elsewhere.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 5, 2021
Thomas has notched 47 tackles, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in 45 career games — all with the Browns. Thomas played a key role last season with multiple injuries throughout the year to Cleveland’s secondary. He ended up logging 203 snaps on defense and maintained a strong presence on special teams.
For what it’s worth, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said last season that he enjoyed having a player like Thomas on the roster.
“He does a great job,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski told the Browns official site. “Out on the practice field, he is locked in at practice. Every rep looks like a game rep for him. He is a tremendous leader by example. I could not say enough good things about Tav.”
Browns Eager to Add to Defense in Free Agency
It’s no secret that the Browns will want to improve on the defensive side of the ball this offseason. And Cleveland has some money to work with. The Browns have $24.363 million in cap space — according to spotrac.com — which is 14th in the NFL.
The Browns have needs at multiple spots on the defensive side of the ball, but one spot the team would like to lock up specifically is at the defensive end spot opposite of Myles Garrett.
Garrett collected 12 sacks, two pass deflections and four forced fumbles in 14 games. The Browns are likely to lose his previous pass-rush partner — Olivier Vernon — who is an unrestricted free agent and coming off an Achilles injury he suffered in Cleveland’s regular-season finale
“I think that it is great to have to two bookends along the defensive line – very few teams do,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said. “I think there are a number of different configurations that can make us successful on the defensive line. We will look to add talent at that spot, no different than we would all across the defense and up and down the roster, but I would not necessarily get zeroed in there.”
The “legal tampering” period of free agency starts tomorrow at noon ET. Expect some news on the Browns’ signings to come shortly after that.