As we inch closer to the official start of the NFL 2021 season on March 17 at 4 pm EST, we will begin hearing more reports like this.
With the salary cap set to drop, the #Browns don't plan to tender CB and special teams ace Tavierre Thomas, source said. Thomas would've been a restricted free agent. Instead, he'll hit the market. Look for similar moves elsewhere.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 5, 2021
Thomas will be 25 on March 11.
Tavierre Thomas started his career as a UDFA signed in 2018 by the Arizona Cardinals for the practice squad.
The Browns claimed him off waivers in September 2018, and he has remained with the team ever since.
He appeared in all 16 regular season games in 2020 and netted 29 solo tackles.
Thomas had his first quarterback sack in Week 1 of the 2020 season against the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson.
Myles didn't get a sack but assisted on this Tavierre Thomas sack. Myles runs upfield, Richardson runs at the RG, and Thomas gets the sack. They tried this a few other times after this, and although they didn't get a sack, it still got a DB free in the backfield. pic.twitter.com/ygqGedI3ib
— Cleveland Browns Gifs (@DawgPoundGifs) September 17, 2020
Tavierre Thomas is also a seasoned special teams player.
Thomas’s contract which expired at the end of the 2020 season was a 3 year deal he initially signed with the Cardinals for $1.71 million.
Thomas Is One Of Three Restricted Free Agents
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
(These players are free to sign an offer sheet with another team, but the Browns have the right to match such an offer)
LB Tae Davis
WR KhaDarel Hodge
CB Tavierre Thomas
— 🇺🇸The Brown Spider!!!🇱🇷 #D4L (11-5) (@BrownSpiderCLE) March 2, 2021
Per NFL rules, the team holding the player’s contract must offer a salary tender which is known as a qualifying offer.
The player can then take the offer and talk with other teams, and the original team has a right to match a competing team’s offer.
If the team does not match the offer, the player is able to sign with the new team.
It is pretty clear that by not tendering an offer to Thomas, the Browns believe his productivity can made up elsewhere either with other players on the roster or draft picks.
Browns Are Among The Best Financially
The Cleveland Browns are the only team among the top 10 in active spending still in the black even with the reduced salary cap. And that's why rollover cap space is important.
— Brent Sobleski (@brentsobleski) February 28, 2021
Despite having the most carryover cap money from 2020, the Browns will be forced to make some tough decisions.
Bigger names than Thomas’s could make the headlines.
The Browns need a stronger defensive unit to be successful in 2021 so perhaps this is an effort to clear money and space for other players.
There is also the pesky issue of Nick Chubb‘s extension; he is in the final year of his four year contract in 2021 and Baker’s contract situation which may involve an extension or exercising the fifth year option.
As mentioned above, the unrestricted free agent signings can commence at the start of the league year which is at 4 pm EST on March 17.
The NFL Draft is also on the horizon, scheduled for April 29 – May 1 in Cleveland.
As of now, the plan for the draft has not been communicated.
The 2020 NFL Draft was 100% virtual because of the pandemic, but there have been rumors that the 2021 draft could be formatted as 50% virtual and 50% in person.
More details on that will be forthcoming from the Commissioner’s office.