The Cleveland Browns are looking to rework Jamie Collins’ exorbitant contract. If Collins were cut, could the Browns replace him with Justin Houston?
Although it was initially reported by FanSided’s own Matt Verderame that the Chiefs have released Houston, the local ABC affiliate reports that the news of the release is premature. Regardless of the veracity of the current report, the release of Justin Houston is inevitable. That is, unless the Chiefs are able to find a trade partner willing to take on Houston’s contract. At this point, the rest of the NFL seems content to wait until Houston is released.
Kansas City used the 70th pick in the 2011 NFL draft to take Justin Houston. Fans may recall that the Browns traded that pick to Kansas City as a part of the deal to move up to draft Phil Taylor. Houston should be a cautionary tale about trading up in the draft.
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Kansas City has ample reason to look to move on from Houston. He represents a $21 million cap hit next season. Should he be released he would only hit the cap at a $7.1 million in dead money. Thus, the Chiefs are looking at Houston and seeing his $15.25 million salary thinking they can spend that money in better ways. Thus, there is motivation to move one from Houston.
The news on Houston comes on the heels of the new from Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that the Browns are looking to restructure the contract, release or trade Jamie Collins. Collins was signed by the previous regime that valued athletic freaks who needed to be taught to play. Collins can play, he needs someone to keep him motivated. A head case he is.
As the tweet states, all of Collins’ guaranteed money has already been paid out. If he were to be released, the Browns would have a $2.5 million hit with dead money on the cap to account for his signing bonus. Even if he were traded, that dead money would still hit the Browns cap. So the Browns are in the driver’s seat in the negotiation with Collins. He will need to restructure or face being released also.
Which leads us to the point. The Browns will save $10.5 million by cutting Collins. That money can be used to upgrade the edge talent at outside linebacker. One obvious choice is Justin Houston. Should they both be released, the Browns could simply use the money they saved on Collins to bring in Houston.
Houston, if healthy, could be an upgrade at edge rusher. He could help mentor young linebackers and provide an extra threat on third down. Would you take that over what Collins has to offer?