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Cleveland Browns release linebacker D'Qwell Jackson

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The veteran linebacker was scheduled to receive a $4 million signing bonus in March with a $9.4 million cap number in 2014.

Jason Miller

The Cleveland Browns announced on Wednesday that they've released linebacker D'Qwell Jackson.

"We had positive discussion with D’Qwell and his agent over the last several days, and we came to the mutual agreement to go in different directions," Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a press release.

Obviously the issue was an exorbitant cap number and upcoming roster bonus for a player with significant production over the last three seasons: 417 tackles, 8.5 quarterback sacks, four interceptions, a touchdown and four forced fumbles. Jackson was also set to receive a $4 million roster bonus on March 15.

Yet, Jackson, who signed a five-year deal worth $38.5 million with $14 million guaranteed prior to the 2012 season, had a cap number of $9.43 million in 2014 -- with $9.93 million against the cap in 2015 and $9.2 million in 2016. The release will penalize the Browns with $4.2 million in dead money, but with nearly $50 million of cap space available, it's better to release Jackson prior to the June 1st rule and have the penalty absorbed this season.

"D’Qwell is the epitome of class, leadership and professionalism," Farmer said. "Every day of his NFL career, D’Qwell has been a solid representative of the Browns and the City of Cleveland, both between the lines on Sundays and off the field in our area community. We want to thank him for his eight years of service and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."

"To the people of Cleveland and Browns fans everywhere: Eight years ago I began a journey that blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful organization and community," said Jackson on Wednesday. "I want to take this time to thank each and every one of you for opening your arms and hearts to my family and me, and for making Cleveland an easy place to love and call home. It’s been an honor playing in front of you."

As for a Bengals perspective... "thank gawd he's out of the division." In the last three years, Jackson posted five sacks against the Bengals with an interception.

Since his contract was terminated (and not expiring like other upcoming free agents), Jackson becomes a free agent and will be allowed to sign with any team whenever he chooses.