A week into free agency, the Cleveland Browns finally signed a somewhat significant free agent. According to Newsday.com’s Kimberley Martin, the Browns hosted free agent linebacker Demario Davis on Tuesday and Scout.com’s Hayden Grove reported on Wednesday that the Browns signed him to a contract.
The deal was reported as a two year deal for eight million dollars total with $4.2 million guaranteed according to Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News.
“There’s a lot of positive energy in this building,” Davis said via press release. “It seems like they’re ready to take this organization in the right direction. I felt nothing but positive vibes from (executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown) all the way down to the defensive coordinator and the head coach. I just felt like this was the best fit for me and my family. I wanted to be a part of what was going on here so I’m happy to be a part of it.
“I just want to be able to come in and help as best as possible. I take pride in being a run stopper. I take pride in covering. I take pride in playing in space, being a sideline-to-sideline backer. I take pride in getting after the quarterback. I just want to be able to do whatever the coach is asking of me.”
Drafted by the Jets in the third round (77th overall) in 2012, Davis has played in 64 games (51 starts), including starting all 48 games the last three seasons. In 2015, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound inside linebacker totaled 89 tackles (57 solo), two sacks, one fumble recovery, and two passes defended. In his four-year career, the 27-year-old has accumulated 338 tackles (220 solo), 6.5 sacks, four fumble recoveries, eight passes defended, and one interception. Davis had more than 100 tackles in both 2013 and 2014.
The Arkansas State product’s best season came in 2014, when he recorded 116 tackles (78 solo), 3.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, and five passes defended, all of which remain career highs. In case you forgot, Davis is also the New York Jet who put Browns quarterback Josh McCown in a helicopter spin-cycle the first week of the 2015 season. The hit, which was legal, caused McCown to miss Week 2 with a concussion, therefore giving Johnny Manziel the start behind center.
Having started all 48 games the last three seasons, Davis is a player the Browns’ defense should be able to depend on at linebacker. Davis is likely the replacement for Browns 2015 linebacker and current free agent Craig Robertson, who has visited the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints.
With the Browns already losing special teamer Johnson Bademosi, wide receiver Travis Benjamin, safety Tashaun Gipson, center Alex Mack, and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to other teams in free agency, a signing like Davis would bring one bright spot to an otherwise dark free agency period.
“I played for some great defensive minds,” Davis said. “I played with a lot of great players. Just everything I’ve been able to learn over the four years is going to help me as I enter into the next chapter of my career.
“It’s a tremendous coaching staff here. I’m excited at what they’re trying to do. I’m trying to be the best player I can be. I think if I’m playing at the top of my game, I can be one of the best in the game. That’s what I aim to do.”
McCown, however, might want to make sure he is always wearing the red jersey at practice.