Outside linebacker Jamie Collins didn’t meet the expectations that came with a four-year, $50 million contract extension signed in January 2017.
He didn’t fulfill his massive potential or reach a second Pro Bowl.
So the Browns terminated Collins’ contract Wednesday.
It had two years and $23 million left, but none was guaranteed. The Browns will save $9.25 million in salary cap space for 2019, leaving them with approximately $80 million.
“We want to thank Jamie for his contributions to the Cleveland Browns,” general manager John Dorsey said in the news release announcing the move. “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.”
Thanks for everything @Browns ?
— Jamie Collins (@j_collins91) March 6, 2019
“Thanks for everything @Browns 100,” Collins tweeted.
Dorsey determined Collins wasn’t worth the $10.5 million he was due to make this season, but the move leaves a sizable hole in the linebacking corps. Collins started all 16 games last year, leading the team with 104 tackles. He added four sacks, an interception, four passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
The draft class is considered weak at linebacker, especially after LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush, so the Browns could try to find Collins’ replacement in free agency.
Minnesota’s Anthony Barr, Baltimore’s C.J. Mosley, Philadelphia’s Jordan Hicks and Tampa Bay’s Kwon Alexander are among the notable candidates expected to hit the market.
Collins, 29, was drafted by New England in the second round in 2013. He made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and was traded to Cleveland on Oct. 31, 2016.
In 30 games over 2½ seasons with the Browns, he totaled 204 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions, seven passes defensed, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Gon miss playing with u bro! One of the realest! ? 51 & 58 ? https://t.co/n5rFkLJNGx
— Christian Kirksey (@Kirko58) March 6, 2019
He remains extremely talented, but the production and impact didn’t follow. Neither did the effort, with several examples last season serving as lightning rods for angry fans on social media.
“There was some inconsistencies,” Dorsey said last week at the scouting combine when asked about Collins’ effort. “You don’t know what leads to it. He may have been nicked. There’s certain things that come. All I know is he’s a very talented football player and you can’t have enough of those guys on your team.”
Dorsey met with agent Bus Cook at the combine. A restructured deal didn’t happen, and Dorsey was unable to trade Collins and his contract.
He immediately becomes a free agent.