Browns Rumors

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/13/21

Today’s late round signings:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

  • DT Alim McNeill (third round; North Carolina State)

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/11/21

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

Browns Claim Chase McLaughlin

The Browns have added some more competition for Cody Parkey. Cleveland was awarded Chase McLaughlin off waivers from the Jets, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

The Jets had claimed McLaughlin off waivers themselves from the Jaguars last December. He’s already bounced around a remarkable portion of the league considering he only entered the NFL as an UDFA in 2019. Despite playing just two seasons, McLaughlin has already spent time with the Bills, Vikings, Chargers, 49ers, Colts, Vikings (again), Jaguars, Jets, and now Browns.

He’s now played for a fourth of the league, and only just turned 25. Most of those stints were obviously short, and a few were just on the practice squad or during the preseason. As far as regular season action goes, McLaughlin kicked in a few games for the Colts, Chargers, and 49ers all in 2019. He then kicked in three for the Jags last year and one for the Jets.

In his career, the Illinois product is 22/28 on field goals and 31/32 on extra points. Parkey was solid but not spectacular in his first year in Cleveland in 2020, making 19 of 22 field goals and 43 of 47 extra points. The Browns never even had him attempt one from beyond 50 yards. They also currently have Matthew McCrane on the offseason roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers To Audition Washington QB Kevin Thomson

Washington quarterback Kevin Thomson will join the Panthers for their rookie minicamp next week, as NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. Thomson, who had previous stops at UNLV and Sacramento State, opted to turn pro this year over an eighth year of college eligibility.

Thomson, who turns 26 in September, was on track to win the Huskies’ starting job in 2020. Instead, an undisclosed injury (believed to be his ribs) sidelined him to start the year. It was familiar territory for Thomson, who battled through back issues and other maladies throughout his collegiate career.

After that, redshirt freshman Dylan Morris held on to the job for the rest of the pandemic-shortened slate. Thomson went undrafted as a result, but the Panthers quickly reached out on Day 3. Now older than Patrick Mahomes, he’ll fight for a spot on the Panthers’ depth chart behind Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker, Will Grier, and Tommy Stevens.

When I was at UNLV going into my second year, I had Tommy John surgery. It put me out for several months and gave me time to reflect on what I really wanted and made me realize how passionate I was about football and how I wanted to continue to pursue it,” Thomson said recently (via Yahoo Sports). “I knew it would take a tremendous amount of work to get where I wanted to be, but I was willing to do that. So I think the injury really made me a better player overall since it forced me to do some self-reflection.”

Per Pelissero, these undrafted QBs will also show their stuff at rookie minicamps later this month:

  • Mississippi State’s K.J. Costello (Chargers)
  • Tulsa’s Zach Smith (Bills)
  • Memphis’ Brady White (Titans)
  • Monmouth’s Kenji Bahar (Ravens)
  • San Jose State’s Josh Love (Browns; 2020 UDFA who spent last offseason with Rams)

Browns Won’t Pursue Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers wants out and plenty of teams figure to chase the Packers star. However, the Browns won’t be among them, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer (Twitter link).

Some have speculated that the Browns could upgrade from Baker Mayfield to the reigning MVP. That won’t be happening, because the Browns are “ecstatic” about Mayfield’s progress in 2020, which culminated in their first playoff win since the ’99 reboot. Meanwhile, the Packers see Jordan Love as their future solution under center, which means Mayfield wouldn’t make much sense for them.

The Packers star looked as sharp as ever last year, but the Browns prefer the long-term upside of their 26-year-old passer to the 37-year-old. Meanwhile, Rodgers is looking for a multi-year pact to reflect his most recent performance. The Browns were happy to exercise Mayfield’s option worth $18.858MM for 2022. Beyond that, the Browns will be willing to furnish Mayfield with $30MM-$35MM per annum if he stays on course. And, no matter where Rodgers lands, he’ll want something in the neighborhood of Dak Prescott‘s $40MM/year deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: 2014 NFL Draft

The first-round of the 2014 NFL Draft took place seven years ago today. While there was plenty of hype heading into the first day of the draft, surely no one expected the first round to produce so many accomplished players. Among the 32 individuals who heard their name called on May 8, 2014, 17 of those players eventually earned Pro Bowl nods. That’s not shabby.

From a transactions standpoint, there were five trades completed on that Thursday evening, with the Browns and Vikings starring in a handful of the deals. While there were whispers that the first-overall pick could get traded from Houston, the Texans ultimately kept the selection and drafted Jadeveon Clowney at No. 1.

The first trade of the evening was between the Browns and Bills. Cleveland wanted to move back to select a cornerback, so they sent No. 4 to Buffalo for No. 9, a future first, and a future fourth. The Bills ended up selecting wideout Sammy Watkins. As the first round continued to progress, the Browns apparently didn’t feel comfortable staying at No. 9. So, they packaged that selection and a future fifth-round pick to the Vikings for the No. 8 pick, and they proceeded to select cornerback Justin Gilbert. The Vikings selected linebacker Anthony Barr with their new selection.

The Saints later got into the action, acquiring the No. 20 pick from the Cardinals to select receiver Brandin Cooks. New Orleans sent Arizona No. 27 and No. 91, with the Cards selecting safety Deone Bucannon with that first-round selection.

The Browns made another trade later in the night, this time in pursuit of a quarterback. Cleveland traded No. 26 and No. 83 to Philly in exchange for No.22…and the Browns ultimately selected quarterback Johnny Manziel. Really, the writing was on the wall with that selection; the team had previously drafted two other QB busts (Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn) at that same spot in the draft.

The last trade of the evening once again featured the Vikings. Minnesota acquired the No. 32 pick from the Seahawks for picks No. 40 and No. 108. The Vikings used their new selection on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

It was surely an entertaining evening, with Cleveland serving as the star of the show. However, fast forward to today, and Browns fans are surely still shaking their head at how everything unfolded.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Fell To Second Round Due To Heart Issue?

One of the bigger surprises of last week’s draft was that Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fell to the second round. Owusu-Koramoah, the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year, a unanimous All-American, and winner of the Butkus Award for the nation’s top linebacker, was widely considered a first-round talent, but he had to wait until the Browns traded up to the No. 52 overall selection to hear his name called.

And now we have some clarity on that front. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Owusu-Koramoah had a heart issue that came to light late in the predraft process, which was a concern for most teams (Twitter link). Though the 6-1, 221-lb ‘backer was medically cleared, the issue contributed to his draft-day slide.

But a league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that there is nothing wrong with Owusu-Koramoah’s heart, and a source close to the player himself said he has never heard of any heart issue. During an interview on The Jim Rome Show today, Owusu-Koramoah said, “I never really had any heart issues or anything going on there. You know, you hear a lot of things, but you’ve got to get it from the source.”

One would think that there would be a little smoke to this fire, since plenty of teams passed on a player of Owusu-Koramoah’s upside, but color Cleveland GM Andrew Berry unconcerned. “[T]here’s no issue that would prevent him from being productive short- or long-term,” Berry said.

Indeed, Berry even considered taking Owusu-Koramoah with the No. 26 overall pick. Berry has worked hard to upgrade the Browns’ defense this offseason, and Owusu-Koramoah is a big part of that. The Golden Domer is something of a classic ‘tweener, but that’s becoming less relevant in today’s NFL. His speed and instincts should serve him well in a traditional LB role, and he could also get some looks at safety. He lined up at safety and even as a slot corner in college.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Sign DT Damion Square

The Browns have signed veteran defensive tackle Damion Square, per a club announcement. This is just the latest in a string of defensive tackle upgrades, following the additions of Malik McDowell and promising UDFA Marvin Wilson.

[RELATED: Browns Sign Malik McDowell]

The Browns could use the interior support after shedding Sheldon Richardson earlier this year. Square, a nine-year vet, spent the past seven seasons with the Chargers, appearing in 81 games (24 starts). He’s served mostly as a rotational piece for the Bolts and he hasn’t missed a game in four years. During his time in San Diego and L.A., he’s picked up 6.5 sacks, thanks in part to seeing snaps at defensive end in 2018.

Of course, he’ll have to prove himself over the summer in order to stick on the roster this fall. Given Wilson’s $192K guarantee, the Florida State product may have a leg up on Square and others vying for a place on the depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Sign 5 UDFAs

The Browns have added five undrafted free agents to their offseason roster, per a club announcement. The group is headlined by Florida State defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, who will receive a hefty $192K guarantee:

Wilson was a ballyhooed recruit out of high school who could have been a second-round pick in last year’s draft. After a lackluster 2020, he may regret his decision to return to campus. The 6’5″ defensive tackle notched 44 stops and 8.5 sacks as a junior, but finished last year with 17 tackles and one sack in six games. Given his guarantee, he’s a safe bet to make the final cut. Harbison, who topped 1,000 yards twice at Northern Illinois before transferring to Charlotte, may also have a shot at the Week 1 roster.

Browns Sign Malik McDowell

The Browns made an intriguing addition on Monday. Cleveland has signed defensive tackle Malik McDowell to a contract, the team announced.

McDowell was drafted 35th overall by the Seahawks in 2017, but has never played in an NFL game. A serious ATV accident that summer landed him on the NFI list for the whole season, and he was arrested a couple of times for DUI and disorderly conduct. The Seahawks waived him in July of 2018 with a non-football injury designation, and there were questions about whether he would ever be medically cleared to play football again.

He was arrested a couple of more times in 2019, and eventually sentenced to 11 months in prison. He worked out for the Dolphins in October of last year, and his representatives say he has been fully medically cleared. At the time of his imprisonment, McDowell said “I’m doing everything I need to do, seeing all the doctors I need to, working out…doing everything I can to get back to where I was, back to the NFL.”

Browns GM Andrew Berry issued a statement on the signing, which you can read courtesy of this tweet from Tony Grossi of ESPN. “We are certainly aware of Malik’s past, as we have done extensive work on him for the last two months. He is accountable for his actions and has had to live with the consequences for decisions earlier in his life,” Berry said.

We believe Malik is in a good place, personally & medically. He has taken the necessary steps to get on a healthy path, & has learned from his experiences. Malik understands the expectations we have of him as he attempts to make our football team. He is committed to taking advantage of the support network in place to become the best version of himself—both on and off the field—and we will support him as he attempts to make his return to football.” 

McDowell obviously has a ton of theoretical potential, as he was considered a first-round talent back in the day. Although it’s been years since he played on a team, he’s still only 24. It’s a low-risk flyer for the Browns that could pay dividends down the line. They could use some defensive tackle depth after cutting Sheldon Richardson earlier this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.