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Two Browns on “The Ultimate Over-30 Team”

Stalwart Joel Bitonio and new addition Za’Darius Smith at the top of their positions in the NFL despite their age

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Professional sports is a young man’s game. Whether it is athleticism, cheap rookie contracts or the hope of upside, younger players are generally given more of a chance in all sports but especially professional football.

The Cleveland Browns have had a very young roster that hasn’t equated to wins. Going into 2023, the 53-man roster has a chance to have an uptick in age for a variety of reasons including a ton of offseason additions in free agency.

Even GM Andrew Berry’s NFL draft class was slightly older than his have been in the past. He’s a man of his word, given his answer to my question at the NFL combine.

Last year, there were generally just four players on the 53-man roster at least 30 years of age. At this point, there are six players likely to make the team and one on the bubble (Jakeem Grant) who are already at or above the big 3-0.

Two of those players, OL Joel Bitonio and DE Za’Darius Smith, made The 33rd Team’s “Ultimate Over-30 Team.” Bitonio is described as “the best left guard in the NFL” while Smith’s pass rush ability was lauded as why he made the team:

The other four players currently 30 years or older on Cleveland’s roster didn’t have a chance here as A) special teams were not included and B) the other three players have been reserves for most of their careers. Long-snapper Charley Hughlett could have made the squad while Rodney McLeod, Marquise Goodwin and Jordan Akins all have roles but aren’t at the top of the league.

Are you surprised by how few 30-year-olds the Browns have and that two of them made this team?