BEREA: The Browns will release veteran quarterback Jake Delhomme today, a league source confirmed to the Beacon Journal on Wednesday.
Browns General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur declined to confirm the move, which can’t officially be made until 4:01 p.m. today. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the news.
“Best of luck to Jake Delhomme,” Browns linebacker Scott Fujita wrote on Twitter. “One of my all-time favorites. Class act all the way.”
The Browns’ plans to cut Delhomme, who was scheduled to make a base salary of $5.4 million in 2011, are not surprising. Delhomme, 36, would have been behind projected starter Colt McCoy and backup Seneca Wallace on the team’s depth chart.
Delhomme entered last season as the Browns’ starting quarterback, but he suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 1 and was sidelined for the next three games. He returned to action in Week 5, filling in for Wallace after Wallace suffered a high ankle sprain of his own late in the first half against the Atlanta Falcons. Delhomme, though, was reinjured later in the game, creating an opportunity for McCoy to make his regular-season debut the following week.
Delhomme started four of the five games in which he appeared last season, compiling a record of 2-2 as a starter. He completed 93-of-149 passes for 872 yards and two touchdowns with seven interceptions.
Before signing a two-year contract with the Browns in March of last year, Delhomme spent seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He led them to the Super Bowl in 2004 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2005. However, he was cut by the Panthers after a dreadful 2009 season.
Even though the Browns will be about $35 million under the salary cap once they cut Delhomme, Heckert said they still don’t plan to be extremely active in free agency, which begins in full force at 6 p.m. Friday.
“We don’t expect to be signing a bunch of guys,” Heckert said. “Cap room’s not an issue. We’d much rather spend it on our young players that we like right now that we have [and] we know everything about. We want to keep our young, talented players.”
Heckert said he expects kicker Phil Dawson to report to training camp when it starts on Friday.
“I had a very good conversation with Phil today,” Heckert said. “And we’ll see what happens.”
Dawson thought the 2010 season would be his last with the Browns, but the team designated him as its franchise player in February. Before the lockout took effect in mid-March, Dawson did not tell the team whether he planned to sign the franchise tender, President Mike Holmgren said.
Dawson can’t sign until Friday evening. If he signs the one-year franchise tender, he’ll make $3.175 million in 2011, NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported.
McCoy said he has bulked up during the offseason to improve his durability. His playing weight last season was 216-217 pounds. Now he weighs about 221 pounds.
“One thing I learned last year is you’re gonna take some hits in this league,” McCoy said. “You want to try to minimize those. But when you do get hit, you want to be dense and you want to be able to take them.
“The difference, you probably can’t see it physically as much. But as far as what you feel like, how you move, I’m stronger than what I was.”
McCoy said his right shoulder, which was hurt during the 2010 BCS National Championship Game and bothered him last season, feels fine now. He suffered a left high-ankle sprain last season, but it did not require surgery and has healed, too, he said.
“If you look at a positive for this lockout ... it has given time for guys on the team to heal,” McCoy said. “The nicks and bruises that you get through OTAs and minicamp that kind of carry over from the season, those are eliminated.”
Unrestricted free-agent linebacker Jason Trusnik has agreed to a two-year deal with the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday. The Dolphins won’t be able to officially sign Trusnik, a Nordonia High School graduate who played for the Browns during the past two seasons, until Friday evening.
Trusnik, 27, who has served primarily as a special-teams ace throughout his career, appeared in all 16 games last season and started five of them. He had 15 tackles and a sack.
Defensive tackle Phil Taylor, the Browns’ first-round pick in this year’s draft, was among the players who visited the team’s facility on Wednesday. ... Shurmur said the Browns have not discussed whether or not they would pursue Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft. Pryor has yet to be ruled eligible for the supplemental draft. ... Unrestricted free-agent safety Abram Elam, who played for the Browns during the past two seasons, posted the following message on Twitter: “Been contacted by a few teams just patiently waiting. Praying God puts me in the best situation for my career and my family.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://browns.ohio.com. Follow the Browns on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ABJ_Browns and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/browns.abj.