Davone Bess

Browns Cut Davone Bess, Two Others

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.

Browns Plan To Void Davone Bess’ Guarantee

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.

Browns Notes: Pettine, Hoyer, Mack, Ward

It took quite a while for the Browns to make their hire, but they finally got their man in Mike Pettine earlier today. Meanwhile, Pettine told Joe Buscaglia of WGR550 (Twitter links) after his introductory presser that it almost didn’t happen. As the hiring process lingered on, the former Bills defensive coordinator worried that it wasn’t fair to keep Buffalo waiting. “That was starting to wear on me these last couple of days. I talked to [Bills head coach Doug Marrone] and it was getting to the point where I’d say, ‘Hey, if this goes on much longer I need to pull out because it’s just not fair to the Bills.‘” Here’s a look at the highlights from Pettine’s first press conference and more from Cleveland..

  • Pettine says that the perception matches the reality: the club is behind the eight-ball because he was hired so late, tweets Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal. The new head coach is already getting to work on assembling his staff.
  • The new man in charge offered a strong endorsement of quarterback Brian Hoyer, Ulrich tweets, calling him a “winner” and describing his intangibles as “off the charts.” However, he did concede that even though the offense has talent, there are “some holes” to address (link).
  • The Browns submitted a request to Buffalo to interview linebacker coach Jim O’Neil for their defensive coordinator opening, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. O’Neil and Pettine also worked together with Jets. It was reported earlier today that Pettine would seek to bring O’Neil along with him to the Browns.
  • Pettine said potential free agents center Alex Mack and safety T.J. Ward are special players he’d love to have back, Ulrich tweets.
  • Browns CEO Joe Banner said team will do everything it can to support troubled wide receiver Davone Bess but wouldn’t comment further, according to Ulrich (via Twitter).
  • Banner and owner Jimmy Haslam revealed that Pettine was on their list of defensive coordinator candidates last year, Ulrich tweets.