CLEVELAND — Andrew Billings will have to wait to make his Cleveland Browns debut. On Tuesday, the team announced that the defensive tackle has chosen to opt out of the 2020 season, which every player has the right to do under an agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, Billings signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Browns earlier this year. In his four seasons in Cincinnati, the Baylor product started 37 of 47 career games with 80 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
In opting out, Billings' contract will now toll (freeze) and he will be slated to return to the Browns on his one-year deal in 2021.
In coming to Cleveland, Billings was expected to provide depth on the Browns' defensive line, while pushing starters Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi for playing time. In his absence, Cleveland now finds itself relying on fourth-round pick Jordan Elliott to play an increased role, with other defensive tackles on the team's current roster also including veterans Eli Ankou and Daniel Ekuale and undrafted rookie Jeffery Whatley.
With players reporting to Berea for the start of training camp last week, Billings is the third Browns player to opt out of the 2020 campaign. Last week, Browns offensive linemen Drew Forbes and Drake Dorbeck each chose not to play this season due to concerns regarding the coronavirus.
In addition to Billings' opt out, the Browns have announced that they have placed wide receiver Ja'Marcus Bradley on the COVID-19 reserve list, which is reserved for players who have either tested positive for or been exposed to the coronavirus.