The Cleveland Browns will not tender corner and gunner Tavierre Thomas according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. That will make Thomas an unrestricted free agent, but may not necessarily mean the Browns won't re-sign him later.
Thomas has been the Browns best gunner on their special teams coverage for the past three seasons. Due to an injury to Kevin Johnson as well as what would be a season-ending injury to Greedy Williams, Thomas ended up playing some slot corner early in the season. He wasn't good in coverage, often exploited, but he played hard and made tackles.
For a team that has put an emphasis on special teams, a player like Thomas might be someone they want to keep. However, they don't want to pay him on a tender, which is fully guaranteed. They might prefer to sign him longer team with every intention of keeping him the entire way, but they want to keep the flexibility to be able to release him if necessary.
There is an inherent risk that Thomas could get a better offer elsewhere or even take the same offer to go somewhere else. If they don't figure out a way to sign Thomas, they will need to fill the role, be it someone like Robert Jackson, who was Thomas's backup or potentially someone in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Thomas is a player that gives absolutely everything he has on the field. In 2018, he played through a sports hernia. That type of effort coming from one of the lowest paid players on the team means a lot to an NFL roster. It serves as a reminder to everyone, be it the highest paid guy on the team all the way down to rookies who are just getting into the NFL the level of dedication it takes.
It seems like the Browns would like to keep Thomas not only because of his ability on special teams, but the intensity he brings. Thomas is an unrestricted free agent that can sign with any team. And like with many of their free agents, the Browns might not like to get them back, but it may not work out that way.