The Browns have placed left guard Joel Bitonio on injured reserve with a mid-foot sprain, as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com tweets. To take his place on the roster, fullback Dan Vitale has been signed off of the Buccaneers’ practice squad (link).
Bitonio’s injury is likely season-ending, though the new IR rules could technically allow for him to return. If Bitonio was to come back, he would not be eligible to play for another eight weeks.
Last year, Bitonio was placed on IR in December when an ankle injury forced him out of action. He was rated as the No. 33 guard in the NFL by Pro Football Focus when he was shut down last year. This year, through five games, PFF rated him as the ninth-best guard in the league (tied with Mike Iupati of the Cardinals). In 2016, he earned an overall grade of 83.3 with roughly even scores for his pass blocking and run blocking.
Vitale was a sixth-round pick of the Bucs this year. At Northwestern, Vitale racked up 135 catches for 1,427 receiving yards from 2012-15. He only carries the ball six times in college.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.