The Browns hoped that Davone Bess would give them an intriguing offensive weapon when they traded for him last season, but things didn’t work out as they had hoped. After a season where Bess dropped a whopping nine passes, good for second in the league, he had a series of bizarre off-the-field incidents in early 2014 that left many questioning his mental state. Cleveland inked Bess to a deal that would give him a $3.067MM base salary guarantee for ’14 after the team dealt for him, but the Browns now believe that they can void his guarantee, league sources tell Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
Bess’ personal matters kept him from playing towards the end of the 2013 season and the Browns, at their discretion, continued to pay his salary during that time. The Browns believe that they don’t have to honor their previous agreement for 2014, but Bess has the option of appealing.
Voiding the guarantee doesn’t necessarily mean Bess will be playing elsewhere in the fall. As Florio rightfully notes, the Browns could give Bess the opportunity to recover and earn his now non-guaranteed salary. At the introductory press conference for coach Mike Pettine, then-CEO Joe Banner indicated that the club would do everything possible to support Bess. And while Banner is transitioning out of a front office role in Cleveland, new GM Ray Farmer echoed those comments at his own presser this week.