With just three games to play, the Cleveland Browns are 9-5 and could lock up a playoff spot as early as Week 16. They've been able to overcome a plethora of injuries and have an injured list that resembles a playoff-caliber starting team. Their ability to persevere is a testament to the work Kevin Stefanski has done to change the culture.
It should also give them hope that they can continue to contend in the future, especially if they can stay healthy. While they're still focused on winning their remaining games and making noise in the postseason, we take a look ahead to the 2024 campaign. As they aim to keep their roster competitive, here are four players they can't bring back.
4. Jacob Phillips, Linebacker
One of the many players on the IR for Cleveland, Jacob Phillips has spent the majority of his first four seasons in the NFL unavailable. A third-round pick in 2020 out of LSU, Phillips is slightly undersized at linebacker, weighing just 228 pounds, but his speed and explosiveness are huge weapons.
He started to show signs of his play-making ability at the end of his rookie campaign and then in 2022 had his best season as a pro. That year, he had 46 tackles and two sacks as the Browns were dealing with one injury after another at linebacker. Then, Phillips also went down, which made it three times in a row that his season was cut short.
In all, he's played 20 games with his nine appearances as a rookie being the most he's had in a single season. This year, he was lost before the year even began. Scheduled to be a free agent in the offseason, it's time for Cleveland to let Phillips go. He's not likely to suddenly get healthy and even if he does, the risk isn't worth it for them anymore.
We'll get to the next player in a moment, but first make sure you've claimed Bet365's GUARANTEED $150 bonus today. If you sign up, deposit at least $10 and bet $5 or more on any Browns bet right now, you'll receive $150 in bonus bets win or lose. Sign up for Bet365 now!