Free agent linebacker Demario Davis has signed a two-year deal worth $8 million with the Cleveland Browns, reports Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News.
Davis, 27, was a third-round selection by the Jets in the 2012 NFL Draft. He has provided durability at the linebacker position for New York over the past four seasons, never having missed a game.
Last season he recorded 57 solo tackles and two sacks.
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It seemed inevitable that Davis was going to sign elsewhere after his struggles last season, but as a player who has extensive experience as a three-down linebacker, Davis apparently still carried some value in the open market. Now that Davis is gone, the Jets might renew their push to bring back Erin Henderson.
Henderson played well down the stretch when splitting time with Davis but, then again, so did Davis. Henderson should be cheaper, but can the Jets outbid the free-spending Raiders who were also interested? Even if Henderson does re-sign, I wouldn't expect him to play 100% of the time, so the Jets may be looking to platoon him with someone young (potentially Taiwan Jones and/or a draftee) or even run more packages where David Harris is the only inside linebacker. The Jets did also bring in former Chicago Bear Shea McLellin for a visit last week.
The good news for the Jets is that this should count as a qualifying loss for compensatory pick offset purposes. It's still too early to say, but the way things are shaping up, the Jets could be in line for a couple of decent extra picks next year. Remember, a maximum of four compensatory picks are awarded to the extent qualifying losses exceed qualifying gains, with the value of the picks awarded dictated by the size of contracts signed by players who leave.
In addition to Davis, the Jets have already lost Damon Harrison and Chris Ivory, with a couple of other potential departures pending. The signing of Matt Forte will offset these, as would Steve McLendon and Jarvis Jenkins, assuming those deals are confirmed. However, Khiry Robinson would not affect the calculation because he was a non-tendered restricted free agent.