9:54am: The Browns don’t owe Bess his $3.067MM salary for 2014, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who says the previous regime put specific language into the contract to protect the club (Twitter link). That likely means the club will create $3MM+ in cap savings, though we’ll have to wait for confirmation.
7:17am: The Browns have released wide receiver Davone Bess, the team announced today (Twitter link). In addition to cutting Bess, the Browns also waived wide receiver Brian Tyms and linebacker Paul Hazel.
Bess, who was traded to Cleveland by the Dolphins a year ago, had his worst season on the field in 2013, recording career-lows in receptions (42) and receiving yards (362). He also made headlines off the field, as it was revealed the trouble receiver was involuntarily hospitalized in a mental institution shortly before the trade from Miami. He dealt with several more issues in the ensuing months, including being arrested for assaulting a police officer last month.
Bess had been owed $3.067MM in guaranteed money for 2014, so it’s unclear how the Browns’ cap will be affected by the move. If there were no extenuating circumstances, all $3.067MM of that salary would count as dead money on the team’s books, but Cleveland apparently believes Bess’ guaranteed can be voided, according to a recent report by Pro Football Talk. In any case, the 28-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent, and we likely won’t see him catch on with another team until some positive progress is made on his mental health.
As for Tyms and Hazel, neither player was expected to be a major piece for the Browns in 2014. Tyms played 60 snaps for the club last season, while Hazel appeared in just 14.