On Saturday night, Pro Football Talk reported the Browns were shopping tight end Darren Fells.
Fells played in all sixteen games for Cleveland last season and had 11 catches (12 targets) for 117 yards and three touchdowns. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 31st overall tight end in the NFL with a 65.9 (above average) grade.
He also has the distinction of having caught Baker Mayfield’s first NFL touchdown pass when Mayfield hit him on a 49-yard catch and run against Oakland in Week 4.
Cleveland signed the blocking tight end to a three-year contract worth $12 million last March and was scheduled to make $2.65 million in base salary with $1.5 million of that becoming guaranteed on March 15.
With the Browns releasing him, they’ll take a $1.4 million dead cap hit but save $2.3 million in cap space.
It would have madr more sense to release him later this offseason when the dead cap hit would’ve have been $700,000 in each of the next two seasons and would save $3 million in cap space.
Releasing Fells doesn’t make sense to me because he’s not costing the team a lot financially and he was solid last year as both a blocker and when he was used in the passing game.
Now if the Browns clearly think they can improve over what Fells did and they can in the draft because the tight end class this year has a lot of depth then the move makes sense.
They could also look to add another tight end option in free agency such as Pittsburgh’s Jesse James or taking a flyer on Cincinnati’s Tyler Eifert.