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Browns add veteran O-line depth to practice squad

Cleveland signs guard Rodger Saffold a day after the 14-year veteran was released by the New York Jets.

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New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns filled their open spot on the practice squad on Wednesday with the signing of veteran offensive guard Rodger Saffold.

The 6-foot-5 and 325-pound Saffold brings some significant experience to Cleveland as he has made 173 starts since being a second-round selection in 2010 by the St. Louis Rams. Saffold spent his first nine seasons with the Rams before moving on to the Tennessee Titans (46 starts from 2019 to 2021) and then playing last season with the Buffalo Bills (16 starts).

Saffold earned his second-consecutive Pro Bowl selection last season, for what that is worth, but the Bills decided to move on and Saffold entered the free agent market this past spring. He did not find any interested teams, however, and was out of the game until the New York Jets signed him to their practice squad on October 31.

Even though their offensive line has been a mess this season, the Jets are currently ranked No. 31 by Pro Football Focus, the coaching staff in New York never elevated Saffold to the game-day roster. Whether that is a sign of Saffold experiencing a decline in his play - he posted a career-low 43.7 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2022 and his pass-blocking grades have been below par for three consecutive seasons - or general incompetence from a coaching staff that hasn’t done much right all season, remains to be seen.

For now, the Browns are back to full strength on the practice squad as they also added defensive end Sam Kamara on Tuesday.

Cleveland will close out the regular season on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals and then open the playoffs the following weekend as the No. 5 seed in the AFC.