The Cleveland Browns have parted ways with former Bengals defensive end Frostee Rucker, who left Cincinnati last offseason after signing a 5-year, $20.5 million deal to go to their in-state division rivals. The Browns gave Rucker a $5 million signing bonus last March, so they’ll absorb a salary cap hit of around $1.5 million in order to release him.
Rucker started all 16 games and finished with 48 tackles and four sacks in his one season with the Browns. Rucker made $6 million last season and $2 million of his $2.5 million contract for 2013 would have been guaranteed if he was still on the roster Wednesday. Rucker is the first casualty of the team switching from a 4-3 defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who’s expected to run a 3-4 scheme.
He was the 52nd-rated 4-3 defensive end this season (-9.5), according to Pro Football Focus. Rucker is 29, and will come fairly cheap if the Bengals choose to sign him. In his last season in Cincinnati, he finished with a +5.4 run defense grade, the second-best on the team behind All-Pro Geno Atkins.