Rucker was one of Cleveland's big free agent acquisitions last year, but by releasing him when they did, Cleveland avoided paying him a $2 million roster bonus. Rucker, who signed a five-year, $20 million deal last offseason, was owed a $2 million roster bonus if he was on the roster on Feb. 6. He was scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.5 million next season. By parting ways, the Browns also avoided the final four years and roughly $14 million of his deal.
While the move saved the Browns some money, it could also have been impacted by the team's switch from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 scheme under new head coach Rob Chudzinski. Rucker has been a 4-3 defensive end his entire pro career and may not have been a natural fit in the new scheme.
Rucker started all 16 games in his lone season in Cleveland. The 29-year-old finished the year with 48 total tackles and four sacks. He's spent his entire NFL career in the AFC North having played for Cincinnati and Cleveland. He should generate interest on the free-agent market for teams looking for a veteran 4-3 defensive end. While he won't get his roster bonus, Rucker made $6.1 million for his lone season in Cleveland.