The Browns gave Griffin a chance to revive his career after he was released by the Washington Redskins following the 2015 season. Cleveland named him the Week 1 starter in 2016, and he struggled in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Late in that game, Griffin broke his left collarbone, an injury that sidelined him for 11 games.
Although he played better in four games at the end of the season, he admitted that his injury had not fully healed.
The Browns' move comes after they traded with the Houston Texans for quarterback Brock Osweiler on Thursday, though league sources have told ESPN that Cleveland is likely to trade or release Osweiler before the 2017 season.
In five games with the Browns, Griffin completed 87 of 147 passes for 886 yards with two touchdowns, three interceptions and a quarterback rating of 72.5. He led the Browns to their only win of the season, over the Chargers on Christmas Eve.
By releasing Griffin, the Browns will save $6,984,375 against the salary cap. They will have to count his prorated signing bonus of $1.75 million under the 2017 cap.
Griffin sent a thank-you tweet to Browns fans on Friday afternoon.
The move also means that the former second overall pick in the 2012 draft has been released by two teams. He spent four seasons in Washington but lost his job to Kirk Cousins and did not play a down in 2015.
Griffin guided the Redskins to the playoffs as a rookie but played with a knee injury and tore his ACL in the wild-card round. He was back for the start of the 2013 season but incurred a serious ankle injury.
He has thrown for 8,983 yards with 42 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in his career. However, he at times has struggled from the pocket.
Cleveland has released Griffin and Josh McCown since the 2016 season ended. The only quarterbacks on the roster are Cody Kessler -- who led the team in passing as a rookie with 1,380 yards -- Kevin Hogan and Osweiler.
Griffin's release means the Browns will have a fifth Week 1 starting quarterback in five seasons.