The team released the linebacker Wednesday, soon after the sides met and mutually agreed to part ways. Jackson had been due a $4.1 million roster bonus on March 15.
Jackson told The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot that the team tried to restructure his contract, but the number wasn't right for him. He added: "I want to go somewhere with stability."
Jackson, 30, was a popular team leader who played nearly every snap last season and led the Browns in tackles. He signed a five-year extension worth $42.5 million two years ago and said in late December he'd be "absolutely" shocked if he didn't return in 2014.
This was purely a football decision by the Browns, who have plenty of cap room and could've easily carried Jackson's salary on the books. Pro Football Focus ranked the 2006 second-round draft pick the 13th-best inside linebacker in football during the 2011 season. He dipped to 41st overall in 2012 and 42nd in 2013.
The move leaves Cleveland very thin at inside linebacker. You can safely assume the position will be a major priority in the coming months. Jackson has plenty of respect around league circles and should find work in relatively short order.