Cleveland Browns release center JC Tretter, save $8.25 million against salary cap

BEREA, Ohio -- Center JC Tretter, who was recently reelected for a second term as president of the NFL Players Association, has been released by the Cleveland Browns in a move that clears $8.25 million against the salary cap, it was announced Tuesday.

On the field, Tretter, despite nagging knee injuries, has started every game but one -- due to COVID in 2021 -- for the Browns over the past five seasons. With Tretter as an anchor inside, Cleveland has ranked among the league's top offensive lines in each of the past two seasons.

"To the entire Browns organization and the city of Cleveland, thank you for a wonderful five years," Tretter said as part of a post on Twitter. "... I'm going to miss my teammates. I'm leaving Cleveland with incredible memories and friendships that will last much longer than my time here. I wish you all nothing but the best."

Tretter, 31, helped guide the NFLPA through two turbulent years amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and he played a major role in collaborating with the league on protocols to keep players safe.

"For the past five seasons, JC has been a mainstay and iron man at center for us," Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in a statement. "He came to our organization at a time of instability and was one of the key veterans that helped turn the tide over the past several years. His leadership -- both within the locker room and the field -- will be missed. We wish JC well as he continues his career."

Tretter's release clears the way for Nick Harris to take over as Cleveland's starting center. The Browns drafted Harris in the fifth round out of Washington. He has made one start in each of the past two seasons at guard.