The Cleveland Browns claimed six players off waivers on Sunday, which also means they had to say goodbye to six players who had previously made the 53-man roster on Saturday. This post will briefly highlight each of the roster moves, as well as an updated listing of the team's 53-man roster.
Players the Browns Claimed Off Waivers
- RB Bobby Rainey (from Ravens) - 5-9, 212 lbs. - We dug up a lot of positive press on the acquisition of Rainey here, so be sure to check that out. He was an undrated free agent in 2012, but was doing quite well as a backup running back in the preseason and flashed some skills on kickoff returns. He may enter the season as the direct backup to Trent Richardson, given the other moves Cleveland made.
- RB Dennis Johnson (from Texans) - 5-8, 196 lbs. - Johnson was also covered in this post, and he also seems to be a kick return stud, particularly from his college days. At the very least, even though the Browns' backup running back situation is still uncertain in terms of proven talent, it appears to have a lot more potential than Brandon Jackson and Jamaine Cook would have.
- TE MarQueis Gray (from 49ers) - 6-4, 250 lbs. - What? How could an undrafted free agent with just 1 catch for 13 yards be claimed to a 53-man roster? Well, the Browns must be very intrigued by his versatility, with the vision of him being their pet project.
Gray was a quarterback in college at Minnesota, and also played some wide receiver. With the 49ers, he was making the transition to a H-back/running back/tight end type of player. Maybe Chudzinski and Turner, who have experience transitioning guys to tight end, feel they got a long-term steal with Gray. Here is what Niners Nation said upon learning that the Browns prevented Gray from landing on their practice squad.
- TE Keavon Milton (from Saints) - 6-4, 293 lbs. - This is another guy who, on the surface, makes you go, "huh?" Milton had just 1 catch for 10 yards in the preseason. When you look at his massive size, though, you start to think, "OK, the Browns just found their new blocking/goal line tight end."
Back in February, Russ Lande from the National Football Post said this about Milton, who is a converted defensive end: "No one has been talking about him being a high draft pick or ever making big plays as a receiver, but numerous scouts felt that he has value in the NFL because of his dominant blocking ability."
- OL Patrick Lewis (from Packers) - 6-1, 311 lbs. - An undrafted free agent, Packers fans were hoping he landed on their practice squad. Lewis has the versatility to play backup center or guard, and my guess is that on film, the Browns liked him for temporary depth better than their own undrafted free agents in camp. Once Shawn Lauvao and/or Jason Pinkston return to action, I'd expect Lewis to be released.
- ILB Brandon Magee (from Cowboys) - 5-11, 224 lbs. - The Cowboys really liked Magee as an undrafted free agent, because they had signed him with to a deal with $70,000 guaranteed money, something you never see for those type of players. That guaranteed money now shifts over to Cleveland, though, so this doesn't seem like a "rental" player for Cleveland.
McGee takes the roster spot of L.J. Fort. Magee had 15 tackles this preseason for the Cowboys, along with 1 special teams tackle. He was graded positively this preseason by PFF with a grade of 2.1. In 2012, he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 23rd round of the draft, but chose to continue pursuing football. Brugler had this to say about him: "Instinctive and tough w/ nimble footwork, but lack of size, length and explosive traits limits him. Under 29-inch arms."
Players the Browns Cut / Released on Sunday
- RB Brandon Jackson - As much support as I've thrown toward Jackson in the past, I don't feel too bad about seeing him go after a preseason in which he had 28 carries for 43 yards (1.5 avg). The additions of Rainey and Johnson, particularly Rainey, make me get over Jackson fast. Also, Chris Ogbonnaya is still technically a running back too.
- TE Kellen Davis - Good. I have nothing against Davis personally, but the guy was notoriously known for being a poor receiver, and his blocking skills looked pretty bad this preseason too. That's why I kept calling for Dan Gronkowski to make the roster over him. Gronkowski didn't make it, but the Browns added two new guys to pick up the slack.
- TE Brad Smelley - As soon as the Browns added two tight ends, I thought it was the end of the road for Smelley. We'll see if he ends up on the practice squad once he clears waivers.
- OG Caylin Hauptmann - I never expected Hauptmann to make the roster in the first place, but he was just a placeholder until the team added someone like Lewis.
- C Jarrod Shaw - Hauptmann played guard. Shaw played center. Patrick Lewis plays guard and center. Makes sense! (Note: in reality, Shaw was kind of a backup work horse for the Browns this camp, and can play guard too). Martin Wallace is the survivor, but could be purged when the Browns need a kicker.
- ILB L.J. Fort - It's tough to see Fort go, as he was one of those feel-good undrafted free agent guys from 2012. During the preseason, he had 18 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 quarterback hit, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 special teams tackle. The Browns must have preferred Magee, the inside linebacker they signed from the Cowboys. By cutting Fort and not Tank Carder, it also makes it appear as though Carder's job is much more secure than I originally thought.
Former Browns Who Were Claimed by Other Teams
- C Braxston Cave - Claimed by the New England Patriots.
- LB James-Michael Johnson - Claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs.
- DE Brian Sanford - Claimed by the Oakland Raiders.
Updated Look at the Browns' 53-Man Roster
|Pos||Final Roster||Players Cut|
RB Dion Lewis
RB Montario Hardesty
OT Chris Faulk
K Brandon Bogotay
WR Josh Gordon
Cleveland still does not have a kicker. Rob Chudzinski said they would try out kickers, and the league's typical day for NFL tryouts is Tuesday. Once the Browns try out a few guys, we'll likely see another roster move -- they will go into the season with a kicker on their 53-man roster.