Cleveland Browns third-year safety Ed Reynolds sprained his left MCL and is likely going to miss six weeks, according to reporting by ESPN Insider Adam Schefter. We knew Reynolds, the early favorite to retain the starting free safety job, had not torn his ACL, as we noted the other day, but missing the remainder of training camp and preseason does not bode well for his chances to win the competition.
That makes more uncertainty for a position group that already had question marks coming into training camp. Now, it appears second-year safety Derrick Kindred has the lead to see the most time at the position, at least early on.
“It’s obviously mine to lose,” Kindred said of the starting free safety job, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
“It’s not a clear path,” he said Monday. “I’ve still got to come out there and prove myself. I missed the last four games of the  season. I made limited plays last year. I’ve got to make more plays this year.”
Kindred missed the final four games of 2016 after injuring himself in Texas while training during the Browns’ bye week. Any time missed for a rookie is significant, so him staying healthy and getting the repetitions he needs will be crucial to him earning veteran defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ trust.
If not Kindred, the Browns could look to veteran defensive back Jason McCourty who signed with the team in May. We have discussed the possibility of him making that switch at great length, but now the possibility seems even greater. There’s also undrafted free agent Kai Nacua. The rookie from BYU now has a larger opportunity to prove himself, earn a roster spot, and potentially play significant snaps for the Browns defense this season.