The Cleveland Browns announced Tuesday they have terminated the contracts of quarterback Josh McCown and defensive back Tramon Williams.
The moves leave the Browns with about $105 million in salary-cap room for the 2017 roster. The team carried over $50 million in cap room from 2016 to ’17.
That amount of space raises the possibility of adding a quarterback via free agency (Tyrod Taylor, Colin Kaepernick) or trade (Jimmy Garoppolo). It also would make it easier for the team to use the franchise tag on receiver Terrelle Pryor, if it chooses. That cost is expected to be in the $15 million range.
The Browns also have to make a decision on whether they will keep Robert Griffin III, who spent the past season in Cleveland but missed 10 games due to a broken coracoid process in his left collarbone.
McCown, 37, signed a three-year contract to join the Browns in 2015 and was due to be paid $3.625 million with a $750,000 roster bonus in 2017.
The veteran quarterback struggled last season, completing 54.5 percent of his passes and throwing six interceptions to go with six touchdowns in five games (three starts). McCown fractured his collarbone in September but returned later in the season.
In two seasons with the Browns, he threw for 3,209 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 13 games (11 starts). Toward the end of the 2016 season, he said he intends to play in 2017.
McCown’s main issue was staying healthy. Coach Hue Jackson had said often that he liked and respected McCown, but in two seasons he had a concussion, broken ribs and two broken collarbones. He started 11 games in two seasons, winning one.
Williams, 33, who signed with the Browns in 2015, started 22 of the 27 games he appeared in for Cleveland the past two seasons. In 2016 he started five games at cornerback and two at safety. He was due to make $5.7 million with a $1.3 million roster bonus in 2017.
Overall, he made 105 tackles and had two interceptions with the Browns. He spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Green Bay Packers.
The Browns lose two respected veterans with the moves. Both players were liked in the locker room. But at their ages with the Browns coming off a one-win season, the team felt it made sense to move to younger players.