Cleveland Browns Sign LB Demario Davis to 2-year Deal

The Cleveland Browns signed free agent inside linebacker Demario Davis to a two-year, $8 million contract with $4.2 million guaranteed, the team announced Wednesday. The Wednesday morning signing followed Davis’s Tuesday visit to Berea, Ohio.

Davis spent the last four seasons with the New York Jets and was a starter for the last three years.

“There’s a lot of positive energy in this building,” Davis said, per Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com. “It seems like they’re ready to take this organization in the right direction. I felt nothing but positive vibes from (executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown) all the way down to the defensive coordinator and the head coach. I just felt like this was the best fit for me and my family. I wanted to be a part of what was going on here so I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Hearing the words positive and Browns in the same sentence may seem strange at this point given the unique approach new management has taken. But Davis’ comments and quick commitment after his one day meeting with the organization shows a glimpse behind the shroud of secrecy that gives some hope that the team isn’t on a collision course with rock bottom.

It was first reported on Tuesday that Davis was visiting with the team, according to Newsday’s New York Jets beat writer Kimberley Martin:

AP’s Tom Withers verified the meeting shortly after.

With veteran Karlos Danbsy inching closer to 40, and Craig Robertson testing the market, the inside linebacker position is one of dire need for the Browns. Not addressing it and rolling with Chris Kirksey, Dansby and Tank Carder into the draft isn’t a favorable situation.

Last week, it was reported as many as eight teams were interested in meeting with Davis, but there has been little chatter since the start of free agency.

In another offseason, negotiating with Davis one week into the new league year would be looked at as a solid move after the big money deals had already shaped the market. But after losing four key players and making seemingly little effort at replacing them, negativity has skyrocketed around the team’s new front office.

Davis, 27, was drafted by the Jets in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft. While he struggled some in 2015, according to Pro Football Focus, he still finished second in tackles for the Jets. Despite playing heavily during the first 10 games, Davis slowly fell out of favor with the team down the stretch. He played just 16 snaps in the team’s pivotal season finale against Buffalo.

It’s hard to say what caused Davis to seemingly slump in a contract season, but it could work out for the Browns financially as they look to bolster the interior of their linebacker corps. Getting a still relatively young and experienced player with something to prove is a good way to maximize their investment in free agency. Signing Davis likely wouldn’t preclude the team from drafting another linebacker or bringing in others to compete.

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Mike Hoag

Mike Hoag

Managing Editor
Mike Hoag has been covering the Cleveland Browns since 2011. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, SI.com, Cleveland.com, CNN.com, and The Orange and Brown Report.