In a move that we kind of foreshadowed the other day, the Oakland Raiders have released former Cleveland Browns wide receiver and return specialist Joshua Cribbs, according to reports. Just a little over a month ago, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said, "[Cribbs] is excellent in all phases of special teams, not just as a return man," and "that's what makes a guy like him so valuable."
So, what went wrong? Many of the fans who watched him personally felt that he looked incredibly slow and hesitant. Cleveland fans had been able to overlook the wear-and-tear on Cribbs for the past few years because of how long he had been here and what he did for the community, but he didn't get that same benefit in Oakland. In fact, fans aren't upset that they cut Cribbs, but rather that they wasted $225,000 on him. By releasing Cribbs now, he won't make the majority of his 1-year, $1.25 million contract.
Raiders release WR Josh Cribbs. Got $225k of 1-yr, $1.25M contract. Was due $865k in base salary w/$160k in per game rost. bonuses in '13— Brian McIntyre (@brian_mcintyre) August 25, 2013
During the preseason, Cribbs has not been getting the primary reps on return duties -- those reps were going to speedster Jacoby Ford. On top of that, Cribbs received zero reps at wide receiver through the Raiders' first three preseason games. Ouch.
What about a return to Cleveland? The Browns do need a kick returner after RB Dion Lewis went down, but Cribbs probably isn't the guy to call upon for that. One of the reasons nobody signed him for a long time after he became a free agent was the fact that he reportedly had a bad knee.
Now, Pro Football Talk is reporting that he is getting his other knee checked out. They speculate that Cribbs could possibly get an injury settlement for being released while injured. I'd say it's doubtful anyone takes a flier on Cribbs at this point. If Cribbs gets the proper treatment or rest for his knees and someone needs a special teams ace by midseason, maybe he'll get a look from somebody. There does seem to be a realistic chance that Cribbs will only have ever played regular season downs as a member of the Browns.