CLEVELAND — With the start of the season just over a week away, the Cleveland Browns had one pressing matter to complete before 4 p.m. Saturday—roster cuts.
New head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry's jobs were already difficult enough being in their first season, not to mention the added challenge the COVID-19 pandemic created which hindered their ability to spend a full training camp around the players and axed preseason games, which tend to provide some insight to players on the cusp of making the team.
Despite the challenges, Stefanski said he appreciated the hard work the players put in throughout camp under the unique circumstances and added the decision to cut players is never an easy one.
“From the moment we got started in April on the iPads to finally getting them in the building there in July, every step along the way, they have worked. We have changed schedules on them, we have thrown curveballs at them and they have not blinked. Real appreciative of the men in that group,” Stefanski said. “As you know, the cut downs loom, and they are tough decisions and that is never the fun part of this business. Really pleased with the group that we have here tonight, and then we will get this thing down to our 53.”
Berry shared his sentiments and said that the organization felt it had enough information to make the decisions.
“We always take and evaluate all the training camp practices, evaluate every snap, every rep and really try and get as good of a feel for our guys as we can,” Berry said. “We worked closely with our coaches and solicited their feedback as well as from our pro staff and our scouts. We really spent a lot of time on our roster. Where it's a little bit different is you don't get the preseason games, but we feel like we had enough information, enough film to make informed decisions on all 53 guys who made the team based on the practices we had throughout this month.”
Here are the players who did not make 53-man roster:
- QB Kevin Davidson
- QB Garrett Gilbert
- RB Dontrell Hilliard
- RB Benny LeMay
- FB Johnny Stanton
- WR Ja’Marcus Bradley
- WR Damion Ratley
- WR Taywan Taylor
- T Brady Aiello
- T Alex Taylor (injured)
- C Jon Toth
- G Michael Dunn
- G Willie Wright
- DE Robert McCray
- DE Chad Thomas
- DT Daniel Ekuale
- LB Solomon Ajayi
- LB Willie Harvey
- LB Montrel Meander
- CB A.J. Green
- CB Robert Jackson
- CB Donovan Olumba
- S Elijah Benton
- S Javonte Moffatt
While the players listed didn’t make the cut, some players may still find themselves donning orange and brown on Cleveland’s practice squad, which will consist of 16 players this season as opposed to the regular 10, due to coronavirus modification as well as the new collective bargaining agreement.
After the players who were cut Saturday clear waivers, they will be eligible to be signed to the practice squad or picked up by another team.
The Browns can begin to place the roster cuts on the practice squad Sunday, and may make additional changes to the 53-man roster as players become available from other teams.
Here's a look at who made the Browns initial 53-man roster by position:
Quarterbacks (2): Case Keenum, Baker Mayfield
Running backs (3): Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, D’Ernest Johnson
Fullbacks (1): Andy Janovich
Tight ends (5): Pharaoh Brown, Harrison Bryant, Stephen Carlson, Austin Hooper, David Njoku
Wide receivers (6): Odell Beckham Jr., Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, Jarvis Landry, JoJo Natson, Donovan Peoples-Jones
Offensive linemen (9): Joel Bitonio, Evan Brown, Jack Conklin, Nick Harris, Chris Hubbard, Kendall Lamm, Wyatt Teller, JC Tretter, Jedrick Wills Jr.
Defensive linemen (8): Eli Ankou, Adrian Clayborn, Jordan Elliott, Myles Garrett, Porter Gustin, Larry Ogunjobi, Sheldon Richardson, Olivier Vernon
Linebackers (6): Tae Davis, B.J. Goodson, Jacob Phillips, Malcolm Smith, Sione Takitaki, Mack Wilson
Defensive backs (10): Ronnie Harrison, Kevin Johnson, Karl Joseph, Terrance Mitchell, Sheldrick Redwine, Andrew Sendejo, M.J. Stewart Jr., Tavierre Thomas, Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams
Specialists (3): Jamie Gillan, Charley Hughlett, Austin Seibert