Browns sign free agent wide receiver Jeff Janis
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns signed free agent wide receiver Jeff Janis on Friday, but his true value will come on special teams.
The Cleveland Browns made another roster addition on Friday, signing free agent wide receiver Jeff Janis.
The team announced the transaction on its website.
Janis spent the past four seasons with the Green Bay Packers after being selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Collegiately, Janis set school records at Saginaw Valley State for career receptions (241), receiving yards (4,274) and receiving touchdowns (46).
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
He did not carry over that ability to Green Bay, as while he played in 51 games for the Packers, Janis only has 17 receptions for 200 yards and a touchdown at the NFL level.
However, the Browns are likely not bringing him in for his ability as a receiver.
Janis is one of the league’s best gunners on punt returns and he helped the Packers set franchise records for net punt yard average in two of the past three years.
According to a story at packersnews.com, Janis was a gunner on every one of Justin Vogel’s 71 punts in 2017. And the results were pretty impressive:
"A review of those punts showed that Janis faced at least two defenders 30 times, sometimes receiving a double-team at the line of scrimmage and sometimes facing one player at the line and another who peeled off to block him further down the field. Of those 71 punts, Janis was the first one down in coverage 24 times and forced nine fair catches. He was the second one down 19 times and assisted in forcing seven other fair catches."
Clearly, the addition of Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf, former residents of Green Bay’s front office, in Cleveland helped lead the team to a valuable special teams player like Janis. It is also the type of move that, while it appears minor in March, could have a positive impact come the fall.
The Browns finished ranked at No. 26 in net punting average last season (40.8) and 30th in average yards per punt return (10.4), so Janis will be a welcome addition to the special teams unit.
Next: Browns to start fixing their uniforms
Hopefully the Browns will not be punting as much this season as last, when they averaged five punts per game, but having the ability to pin down opposing offenses and give them a longer field to navigate can only be a good thing.