The Browns made a number of moves to get to the 75 player limit today. There were a couple surprises but not necessarily because of cuts. In addition to releasing 7 players, the Browns picked up two, and put a couple on injured reserve.
The surprise move was the announcement that the Browns put Montario Hardesty on injured reserve. Initially, the arthroscopic knee surgery was to keep him out a few weeks. Now, he is done for the year. Hardesty has talent but he has had miserable luck with injuries, both in college and now in the NFL. Hopefully, he can get back to being healthy and contribute next year, but this could be the end of Hardesty in a Browns uniform.
This move also means the Browns have lost two running backs for the year, first with Dion Lewis and now with Hardesty. The Browns have Trent Richardson, Brandon Jackson, Jamaine Cook, and Miquel Maysonet on the roster. It remains to be seen if the Browns will look to add another back or even more than one as players are put on waivers. Maysonet seemed like a candidate to make the practice squad rather than the active roster.
The least surprising news that most saw coming for some time was putting undrafted rookie Chris Faulk on injured reserve and the non-football injury list. The non-football injury list includes injuries sustained in college, which is where he tore up his knee. When healthy, he has talent and Faulk can work to get healthy and try to make an impact next year.
The two most notable players put on waivers today were Owen Marecic and Ryan Miller. Miller was a slight surprise given his size and athleticism, but he should still be eligible for the practice squad if they want to go that route. It is unclear how much he was able to do after sustaining the concussion that resulted in being carried off the field on a stretcher and spending a night in the hospital. Miller was picked last year under Tom Heckert so there was no real attachment there necessarily, but it still seemed like he could make the roster.
Marecic just never worked at all. From day one, he was missing blocks or sustaining concussions the times he was able to make the block. He dropped passes and was just never able to get going. Whether he tries to continue playing football or goes ahead and goes back to Stanford to pursue becoming a doctor remains to be seen.
The rest of the cuts included OL Dominic Alford, LB Kendrick Adams, WR Dominique Croom, TE Travis Tannahill, and DL Nicholas Jean-Baptiste. None were a huge surprise, but Croom and Tannahill might be players they opt to try to bring back on the practice squad.
Additionally, the Browns claimed LB Paul Hazel from the Jaguars of all teams as an undrafted rookie out of Western Michigan. They also claimed P Colton Schmidt from the San Francisco after playing his college football at UC-Davis.
Spencer Lanning’s punting was maddeningly inconsistent against the Colts with punts in the 30 yard range and the 60 yard range. The Browns bringing in competition is not surprising at all, but where the Browns ultimately want to go with the position is unclear.
On the other hand, Hazel is intriguing because he is a 6’5” 227lb linebacker. Right off the bat, it is unclear where he fits other than as a potential cover linebacker in nickel and then playing a ton of special teams. Hazel also played basketball for Western Michigan. This might just be a shot in the dark to see what he can do with all of that athleticism, but it is a little odd to see them grab someone the Jaguars released with the dearth of talent there at the moment. One would have to think he will get a lot of time in the preseason finale against the Bears, so it will be interesting to see where they use him.