Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said the team planned to rest some of their starters this weekend since there's nothing to play for. That includes Joe Flacco, who will be replaced by Jeff Driskel. The fifth starting quarterback for Cleveland this year, this will seemingly be the first — and only — start he makes for the franchise.
He won't be the only player who ends up making a brief appearance with the team either. With the way Andrew Berry attacks the salary cap, there will be continuous waves of veterans who are one-and-done with the franchise throughout his tenure. Here, we look at three players who fit that bill in 2023.
3. Jordan Akins, Tight End
Adding Jordan Akins this offseason felt like a steal for the Browns. They brought in a TE2 who not only had 495 yards and five touchdowns last year but also had experience with Deshaun Watson. The two played together during their days with the Houston Texans and had a solid rapport.
Adding a security blanket behind David Njoku, especially knowing how much Kevin Stefanski likes to play multiple tight ends, was supposed to be a huge boost to this offense. That hasn't been the case though. Akins, who has played in all 16 games — and technically has four starts — enters the finale with just 12 receptions for 108 yards on the year. He's also scored no touchdowns, accounted for just four first downs, and has managed more than one reception in a game just once.
Perhaps that changes this week with the news that Stefanski will rest some starters. Should David Njoku sit out, Akins could benefit. But he could still remain behind Harrison Bryant who has outperformed him this year. Bryant, who is in the final year of his rookie deal, has fewer yards (81) but he's caught 13 passes, scored three touchdowns, and has a total of eight first downs — four of which came when he lined up under center and ran a quarterback sneak.
Bryant will be a free agent in the offseason but could be retained for a fair price. Akins, on the other hand, could be a cap casualty. If released, his dead money would count for just over $300,000 while the savings would be $2 million. Unless they believe a healthy Watson makes a major difference, that's likely the route they go.
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