Browns part ways with leading tackler Collins

The Cleveland Browns have released linebacker Jamie Collins Sr., the team announced Wednesday.

Releasing Collins will only cost the Browns $2.5 million in salary-cap space this season and saves the Browns $9.25 million in cap costs in 2019 and $13.75 million in 2020. Collins had been due to earn $10 million in salary in 2019 and $12 million in 2020.

"We want to thank Jamie for his contributions to the Cleveland Browns," general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. "These types of decisions are never easy. Jamie is a respected veteran player in this league and we wish him the best as he continues his career."

The Browns traded for Collins the season after he led New England in tackles and went to the Pro Bowl. Cleveland then signed him to a four-year, $50 million contract before he hit free agency in 2017.

Collins started eight games for the Browns after the trade, but missed 10 games in 2017 after he needed surgery for a torn medial collateral ligament.

He returned to start all 16 games in 2018 and led the team in tackles with 104 (73 solo), with 4 sacks and an interception, forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

But while Collins' play was solid, it was never spectacular. In 30 starts in Cleveland, he had 7 sacks and 4 interceptions. But none were major game-changing plays worthy of a contract that made him one of the highest-paid linebackers in the league.