CLEVELAND — The NFL's legal tampering period began with a departure, rather than an addition, for the Cleveland Browns. Shortly after teams were permitted to negotiate with players beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Monday, the Browns announced that they have released wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
Despite his status as a fan favorite and leader in Cleveland's locker room, the Browns' decision to release Landry was largely expected. Entering the final season of his contract, the five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver was due $16.3 million -- nearly $15 million of which Cleveland could save in cap space by voiding the remainder of his deal.
While it remained possible that the Browns and Landry could restructure his contract, his exit appeared to be cemented when Cleveland agreed to acquire wide receiver Amari Cooper from the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday. Shortly after the Browns agreed to terms to acquire Cooper, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Cleveland had given Landry permission to seek a trade, which ultimately never came to fruition.
Originally acquired in a trade with the Miami Dolphins in 2018, Landry has been credited with helping turn around the culture of the Browns organization, which was coming off an 0-16 season and 1-31 stretch over the course of two years when he arrived. In all four of his seasons in Cleveland, the LSU product led the Browns in receptions, as well as receiving yards from 2018-2020, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2018 and 2019.
“The trade for Jarvis Landry in 2018 was a key moment for our organization," Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in a statement. "Jarvis’ on-field production and fiery competitiveness speaks for itself, but his leadership and team-oriented attitude impacted our culture in a way that will last in time even beyond his release. These decisions are always difficult, but we wish Jarvis well and we look forward to the day when he returns as a storied Browns alumnus.”