Demario Davis to Browns: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2016

New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) reacts after sacking Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, not pictured, during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns confirmed on Wednesday that they have reached an agreement with free-agent linebacker Demario Davis on a two-year contract.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported the total value of the deal is $8 million. Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday noted it comes with around $4 million in guarantees. Adam Caplan of ESPN added the fully guaranteed amount ($4.2 million) comes in the first year of the deal.

Davis spent the past four seasons with the New York Jets, who selected him in the third round of the 2012 draft. He appeared in all 64 games across that span, including 51 starts, but watched his involvement fade down the stretch of the 2015 campaign.

Rich Cimini of ESPN relayed the Jets' limited interest in a reunion:

In all, he registered 349 combined tackles, 6.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries during his time in New York. He often excelled when it came to stopping the run, but he failed to produce at the same level in pass coverage.

Mehta explained there was also a disconnect about his role in the locker room:

Davis always had air of being a better player and leader than he actually was. I don't know if it was cockiness, arrogance or just a supreme confidence in himself, but he didn't deliver enough on Sundays. He tried to be the de facto spokesman, but it never rang true. I know that some of his teammates frowned at him taking the mantle as a team leader.

Perhaps those traits will fit better in Cleveland, which has been seeking more leaders on the defensive side of the ball.

Davis will likely slide in alongside Karlos Dansby at inside linebacker. He should provide a boost to a Browns run defense that ranked 30th in the league last season. The question is whether he'll return to a three-down role or if Cleveland, like New York, may take him off the field in passing situations.

Ultimately, it's a solid value addition during the second wave of free agency. It fills a void at the linebacker level for a reasonable price. And there's always a chance his best seasons could still be ahead of him at age 27.

The Browns defense could use further upgrades, especially in the secondary, but Davis is a step in the right direction for a unit that underperformed in 2015.