Following today’s 24-10 win over the 49ers, Browns head coach Mike Pettine announced to reporters, including Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (Twitter link), that wide receiver Brian Hartline suffered a broken collarbone during the contest. Hartline will require the surgery and miss the remainder of the season.
The 29-year-old Hartline had become a focal point of Cleveland’s offense in recent weeks, averaging 10 targets per game from Week 8 though 13. He didn’t score during that span, but he did haul in 26 passes for 266 yards. Just today, Hartline had eight receptions for 107 yards before exiting, the first time he’d surpassed the century mark this year.
After spending the first six seasons of his career with the Dolphins, Hartline signed a two-year, $6MM deal with the Browns this offseason. The club could save $3MM against the cap by releasing Hartline this offseason, and given the overhaul — personnel and staff included — that’s expected to take place in Cleveland this offseason, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hartline let go.
The Browns don’t have a receiver on their practice squad to promote, but they could always look to the free agent ranks to find another pass-catcher. Additionally, Hartline’s injury could open up more playing time for the other receivers on Cleveland’s roster, specifically someone like Terrelle Pryor.