The Cleveland Browns announced today that they have terminated the contract of veteran wide receiver Brian Hartline. Hartline played one season with the Browns, logging 46 catches for 523 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2015.
Although I thought Hartline would stick around a little longer, I thought he'd be a roster casualty during training camp. After the team drafted four wide receivers, I penciled in Andrew Hawkins as the slot receiver but couldn't really find a clear roster spot for Hartline. Despite Hartline's release, there are still several veteran receivers on the roster after Hawkins, including Taylor Gabriel, Terrelle Pryor, Marlon Moore, Darius Jennings, and Rannell Hall.
Hartline was another local player, showing that the front office isn't factoring that very much in their decision. They already released strong safety Donte Whitner earlier this offseason. As everyone knows, they also opted not to re-sign almost all of their own free agents and also cut ties with the likes of Karlos Dansby, Dwayne Bowe, and Johnny Manziel.
If you recall, last week during OTAs, head coach Hue Jackson was asked about how Hartline fits in the Browns offense. His answer acknowledged Hartline as a pro, but didn't guarantee him anything despite his tenure, stressing the competition that would be at the position:
Brian Hartlineplaying in the slot some of last year and how he sees Hartline in the Browns offense): "I just see a bunch of guys competing. It’s so early. I know sometimes everybody thinks you put a guy out here at this point or at this point this is this guy’s position. I don’t look at it that way. I just think those guys are going to earn the right to play on this football team, all of them. Hartline is a pro. He’s been through it. He’s had success. He knows how to play, and there’s something to that. At the same time, he knows each and every day he’s got to go out and compete because everybody’s trying to win a spot. To me, that’s what it’s truly all about. It’s about competing and it’s about earning a right to be a part of this football team."
The Browns' next set of OTAs kick off this Tuesday.