The Cleveland Browns yesterday afternoon made a bevy of moves in order to get their roster down to 65. They still have 12 moves to make, but according to Pat McManamon of ESPN, they have already made some relatively significant moves that they have not yet officially announced.
Three players who were not among those that the Browns officially listed as having been released that the ESPN reporters claims were informed of that fact are third-year defensive lineman Xavier Cooper, veteran former starting offensive lineman John Greco, and kicker Cody Parkey. While the latter is not exactly surprising after they drafted a kicker, the other two I do find a bit surprising.
Especially in the wake of the team electing to move on from Desmond Bryant, I anticipated that Cooper, a former third-round draft pick, was going to see an increased role in the Browns’ defense this year. But one has to consider that he is not a guy attached to this ownership.
Cooper was drafted before they brought along Gregg Williams as defensive coordinator this year. He was brought on before Hue Jackson was brought on as head coach the year before that. Neither of these key decision-makers are invested in him as they would otherwise be.
And they drafted two defensive linemen this year in Caleb Brantley and Larry Ogungobi, both of whom now are expected to make the roster. veteran Brandon Thompson is yet another interior reserve lineman released who make their path to a roster spot all that much clearer.
The bigger surprise for me was the release of Greco, who has spent most of his career as a starter for the Browns. He started at least 10 games in each of the past five seasons as he heads into year 10. He started 12 of 12 games at guard and center last year before he was injured.
Of course, the Browns went out and got J.C. Tretter and Kevin Zeitler to start along their offensive line, and with Joel Bitonio back at left guard, there was nowhere for him in the starting lineup, but I thought he would be retained as a valuable reserve. His base salary of just over $3 million didn’t help things.
Finally, there was Parkey. He only attempted two field goals this preseason and made both, including one from 47 yards. Five of seven kickoffs went for touchbacks. But he made just 80 percent of his field goals last year and missed an extra point as well.
The rookie that they drafted, Zane Gonzalez, only made two of three field goal attempts this preseason and went three for four with extra points. He did notch a touchback on all nine of his kickoffs. But as a draft pick, he gets the benefit of the doubt.
Oh, and they released some guy named Brock Osweiler too. And they’re still going to be paying him $16 million. The price of a second-round pick.