It had been brought up since before last season ended and has now become official. The Browns announced today that they had cut veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey. The move frees up over six million in cap space heading into free agency. In his six seasons with the Browns, Kirksey has been a vocal leader and steady presence at linebacker, when on the field. The problem is he has spent more time off it with injuries the past two seasons than on it. The injuries, in combination with his cap figure, made this an easy and correct decision for the new regime.
Who is going to play Linebacker?
With Kirksey released and rumors out there, the Browns will let Joe Schobert walk in free agency, who’s left? The first name on the list would be Mack Wilson. Wilson was forced into a starting role last year after Kirksey was injured. It started a bit rough for the young linebacker, but as the season wore on, Wilson showed significant improvement. The Browns will now need to take another big step next season if the defense is to improve.
Another young linebacker that now becomes crucial to the team is last year’s other draft pick at linebacker Sione Takitaki. Takitaki was unable to see the field as much last year, even with Kirksey injured. The young linebacker has a lot of raw athletic ability but a tendency to overplay trying to make a big hit or play. With only 105 snaps and one meaningless start at the end of the season, Taki Taki has a long way to go.
Help Coming in Free Agency?
Could the Browns be setting things up to make a play for Cory Littleton? While it is doubtful the money is there. Littleton is by far the best linebacker available and will likely command 15-16 million in free agency. The Browns have cleared 14 million with today’s release of Kirksey and previous cuts that included veteran corner, T.J. Carrie. While this scenario is highly unlikely the Browns will need to find a veteran linebacker to lead the young group. Buckle up Browns fans things are just getting going, and it has already been an interesting ride.
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