CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from March 4, 2021.
With less than a week to go until the unofficial start of free agency, the Cleveland Browns made a move to clear some cap space on Tuesday, releasing defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
A 10-year veteran, Clayborn arrived in Cleveland a year ago, signing a two-year, two-year contract worth $6 million. Appearing in 15 games, including two starts, the Iowa product totaled 12 tackles, three of which came for a loss, and 3.5 sacks.
In releasing Clayborn, the Browns clear $3 million in cap space. According to OverTheCap.com, Cleveland currently possesses nearly $24 million in cap space -- the ninth-most in the NFL.
While Clayborn primarily served in a reserve role last season, his release from the Browns underscores the team's need to add a defensive end to start opposite 2020 All-Pro selection Myles Garrett. Last year's starter, Olivier Vernon, is set to hit free agency and is currently recovering from a torn Achilles suffered in Cleveland's regular-season finale.
Speaking to reporters last week, Browns general manager Andrew Berry downplayed his team's need to prioritize the defensive end position in the weeks ahead.
"I do not know that I would necessarily single that position out among others across the defense," Berry said. "It is great to have two bookends along the defensive line -- very few teams do. I think there are a number of different configurations that can make us successful on the defensive line. We will look to add talent at that spot, no different than we would all across the defense and up and down the roster, but I would not necessarily get zeroed in there.”
Still, it's tough to ignore that the glaring hole on Cleveland's depth chart matches up with a position that will have plenty of intriguing options available in the weeks ahead.