The Cleveland Browns signed wide receiver Dwayne Bowe last offseason to be their go-to guy, but after a disappointing 2015, the team released him Wednesday.
Even though the Browns inked Bowe to a two-year deal worth $12.5 million with $9 million guaranteed last year, according to Spotrac, he was virtually invisible in 2015 with just five catches in seven games.
Andrew Brandt of ESPN noted Bowe's $9 million compensation last year was greater than New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's, who made $8 million.
The Kansas City Chiefs made Bowe a first-round draft pick in 2007. The former LSU Tiger played the first eight seasons of his career in Kansas City and made the Pro Bowl in 2010 with 1,162 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches.
Bowe, who turned 31 last September, didn't start a game for the Browns in 2015.
ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler noted there was apparently a lack of communication between Bowe and the Browns about the move:
NFL is cold. Literally six minutes ago, Dwayne Bowe said he hadn't been told he was released. Team just announced his release.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 16, 2016
What’s worse, a veteran receiver playing terribly enough (Jennings has only 10 receptions on 18 targets with three drops) to get benched five weeks into the season (10, 28, and four snaps in Weeks 6, 7 and 8, respectively), or a veteran receiver (Bowe) who hasn’t shown enough to even make it onto the field for more than 19 snaps, or register a reception for a team with two wins?
While Cleveland certainly wouldn't consider Bowe's signing a success, it turned out to be a shrewd move on his part, per NFL on ESPN:
Bowe received $9 million guaranteed from Cleveland.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 16, 2016
He had 5 catches in 2015, meaning he made $1.8 million/catch. pic.twitter.com/Tilxh8Eo4Y
The Browns are enduring a disastrous offseason thus far. They have lost offensive linemen Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz, wide receiver Travis Benjamin and safety Tashaun Gipson from a team that was already coming off a 3-13 season. Parting with troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel can be looked at as more of a positive than a negative.
Losing Bowe doesn't sting the way some other losses do, but the Browns are a franchise tearing everything down in order to build it back up. It's a strategy that won't be easy to watch for a few years, but it might pay off down the road.