There is another name in the mix of available slot cornerbacks for defense-needy teams.
And it is a name that is familiar to Cleveland Browns fans.
Buster Skrine, a fifth-round draft pick way back in the Tom Heckert era, was released by the Chicago Bears.
Bears Releasing CB Buster Skrine https://t.co/tUXdKaMbf7 pic.twitter.com/AT75Of9KDf
— NFLTradeRumors.co (@nfltrade_rumors) March 1, 2021
The move was widely expected around the Windy City as the Bears try to open more cap space.
Chicago could have split the $3.3 million dead cap hit over two years if they waited until June 1.
But the pre-free agency release frees Skrine to sign immediately with any team.
Andrew Berry will undoubtedly take a look as Skrine is an inexpensive, veteran option in the slot.
Cornerbacks Terrance Mitchell and Kevin Johnson are both set to explore free agency.
Skrine played four seasons with the Browns and four more with the Jets before his Chicago contract.
His release cancels the last season of a three-year deal.
What Kind of Career Has Skrine Had?
Buster Skrine played sparingly in his rookie season.
But he more than held his own the following three years, racking up 45 passes defended and 6 interceptions.
Four of those picks came in 2014 just as he entered free agency.
The Jets are expected to sign former Browns CB, Buster Skrine. He had 67 tackles and 4 INTs last year. @AdamSchefter pic.twitter.com/NGS4NlU71U
— NYJFO (@nyjetsfansonly) March 10, 2015
Skrine was a solid defender for the Jets, but he never matched the numbers he put up in Cleveland.
Through the four seasons, he totaled 30 more passes defended and 3 more interceptions.
But Skrine’s reliable tackling and decent coverage skills earned him one more contract from Chicago’s Ryan Pace.
His numbers continued to decline with the Bears, making his release inevitable.
While in Cleveland, Skrine scored top-10 totals in passes defended or interceptions three times.
But he never made it to a Pro Bowl and he never played in a playoff game during his first 10 seasons.
Should the Browns Bring Skrine Back in 2021?
Sometimes, statistics skew the perception of a good player.
Skrine is an option as a veteran presence in a young locker room.
But that presence is about all the Browns can rely on.
Buster Skrine’s coverage was pretty good pic.twitter.com/7lDb1zgTtr
— Bears Barroom (@BearsBarroom) November 8, 2020
Skrine struggled mightily last season in Chicago, especially in man coverage.
Quarterbacks completed over 75% of passes thrown his way, to the tune of a 125.7 QBR.
He has not recorded an interception in 3 seasons and his passes defended were the lowest since his rookie year.
Skrine is still a decent tackler, racking up 114 in 28 games with the Bears.
However, he also suffered his sixth recorded concussion, which cost him the final 4 games of 2020.
The former Brown could find new life in a return to his Cleveland roots.
But with the plethora of free-agent options available, Berry is probably better off waiting for someone else.
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