Life comes at you fast. Less than 12 hours after he welcome David Njoku to the tight end room, Gary Barnidge has been made aware of his release from the Cleveland Browns.
A bit of a shocker, the Browns traded up on Thursday night, jumping ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers to take Njoku. While many felt he would have been a solid compliment to a team that has little in the way of offensive play makers, the team apparently felt otherwise by giving the 32-year old his walking papers.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 28, 2017
Brought to Cleveland by then head coach Rob Chudzinski from their mutual days in Carolina, Barnidge was one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL during his breakout 2015 campaign, leading Cleveland with 1,043 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. His production fell off in 2016, but most of this could be pinned to the team’s inability to field the quarterback position with any consistency.
“We’d like to thank Gary for all he has done for the Browns and the Cleveland community in his four seasons with the organization,” said Sashi Brown through an official statement. “He has been a fine representative of our team and we wish him the best going forward.”
He signed a three-year, $12,300,000 contract extension with the Browns in 2015. The deal included a $3.25 million signing bonus, and an average annual salary of $4.1 million. In 2017, Barnidge was to earn a base salary of $2.75 million and a roster bonus of $250,000. His cap hit of is expected to be $3,812,500 and a dead cap value of $1,625,000.
The Browns are currently No. 2 in the NFL with an estimated $66 million in available cap space.