Browns, Deion Jones Agree To Remove Year From LB’s Contract

Designated for return last week, Deion Jones is expected to make his Browns debut against the Ravens in Week 7. That will now be the start of a contract year for the veteran linebacker.

Following his Atlanta-to-Cleveland trade, Jones agreed to remove the 2023 season from his contract, Field Yates of notes (on Twitter). Jones entered the season on his 2019 Falcons extension — a four-year, $57MM deal — that ran through 2023, but this is now his walk year.

Jones was due a nonguaranteed $11.99MM in 2023. The six-year starter will attempt to rebuild his value toward a third NFL contract. The Browns are now attached to less than $1MM in Jones payments; Jones’ September restructure reduced his 2022 base salary to $1.14MM. But Cleveland also will have some questions at linebacker beyond 2022. Two-year starter Anthony Walker is also a free agent, after having signed another one-year deal this offseason.

Although Jones started throughout the 2021 season in Dean Pees‘ defense, the Falcons’ offseason moves and the steady trade buzz surrounding the former second-round pick revealed he was falling out of favor with the new regime. The Falcons, who used Jones and Foyesade Oluokun as their primary off-ball ‘backers last season, have now moved on from both this year. They are still tied to considerable Jones dead money ($11.36MM this year and $12.14MM in 2023), but the Matt Ryan trade — which brought a record $40MM in dead money — showed Atlanta’s current regime is not hesitating regarding cap penalties.

Jones will turn 28 next month. This trade, a 2024 pick swap, has shown a value drop compared to where the LSU alum’s stock resided in 2019. The second half of this Browns season provides a window for the 83-game starter to rebuild it.

A few younger off-ball ‘backers are poised for free agency in 2023 as well. Tremaine Edmunds and Roquan Smith may not both hit the market, but they are eligible to do so as of now. Lavonte David‘s third Buccaneers contract is up after 2022, while Denzel Perryman is also tied to an expiring deal. The Raiders have discussed an extension with the eighth-year defender, however. It will be interesting if Jones and the Browns huddle up about a potential re-up at some point before his deal expires in March.

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