The switch to the 3-4 defense has claimed its first victim in Cleveland.
The Browns announced Tuesday that they have released defensive end Frostee Rucker after one year in Cleveland, a move that’s been rumored since Ray Horton was hired as the defensive coordinator. Rucker signed a five-year deal with the Browns last offseason, pocketing a $5 million signing bonus and $8 million in guaranteed money for his brief stay with the team. He was due a $2 million roster bonus later this week, so the Browns had no reason to see if there was some way to make it work with Rucker in the new scheme.
Rucker had four sacks, 48 tackles and a forced fumble in 16 starts for the Browns. He’s been a solid run defender for several years, which should help him land work with a team that plays a 4-3 front and needs an end.
The Browns get some money back under the cap by releasing Rucker now, although his signing bonus means that there will be a bit of dead money on the cap in Cleveland this year. He likely won’t be the only member of the team to get a pink slip as the new regime starts building things their way.