When the Cleveland Browns released Joe Jurevicius last evening after failing to reach a new contract agreement, a message was sent.
That message got even clearer today, as multiple sources have informed Scout.com's Adam Caplan that the team has failed to come to an agreement with RT Kevin Shaffer, and that the offensive lineman will be released.
A highly placed source within the team this evening told the OBR that the move wasn't official at this moment, but "looking like it may happen".
The move will not come as a surprise to OBR subscribers, as the OBR's Lane Adkins and John Taylor have both discussed the strong possibility of this occurring for the last several weeks. Earlier on Thursday, OBR subscribers were informed that a release of Shaffer was likely within 24-48 hours.
Shaffer signed with the Browns as the team’s left tackle in 2006, sliding over to the right tackle slot in 2007 after the team drafted LT Joe Thomas with the third pick in the draft, a move that Shaffer initially disliked.
Shaffer was an expensive signing for then-GM Phil Savage. Inking the Falcons tackle to a six-year deal with $12 million in guaranteed money. Savage was gambling that Shaffer would continue the development seen over the first few years of his career.
After being part of the one of the league’s best offensive lines in 2007, Shaffer’s performance ebbed in 2008, in part, perhaps, due to the loss of Ryan Tucker at the right guard position next to him. The combination of Rex Hadnot and Shaffer manning the right side was visibly less effective than the year before.
The team, clearly viewed the contact out of line with the tackle’s performance. If Shaffer is released, there will be some significant salary cap impacts both this year and in the future. While the team will save $1.455 million of cap space by cutting Shaffer, they will also assume $4.56 of "dead" cap space due to bonuses rolled forward into this year.
The release makes the Browns thin at yet another position. Ryan Tucker, if healthy, may be a candidate to return to the right tackle position
A reason that the team is not declaring the release official as of this time may be that the door is not entirely closed to his return. If that happens, it will not be under his current contract. At this point, the big right tackle is free to seek employment with other teams.