Browns Rumors

Browns, Dez Bryant To Meet On Thursday

The Browns have Dez Bryant‘s visit in the calendar. Bryant will travel to Cleveland on Thursday, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Browns To Work Out Johnathan Hankins]

The Browns’ interest in Bryant has been known for some time, but it has taken us a while to get to this point. Last week, GM John Dorsey told reporters that Bryant would not return his phone calls. Then, that night, Bryant tweeted that he would in fact be meeting with the Browns. Meanwhile, internally, the Browns are unsure as to whether Bryant will be a good fit for them. Each side will have a chance to weigh the pros and cons this week.

In theory, Bryant could be a tremendous No. 2 wide receiver for the Browns behind star Jarvis Landry if Josh Gordon is not available. If Gordon is available, then Bryant might not be in line for a ton of targets, and it’s fair to wonder whether the veteran would be flexible in that scenario. The Browns could also stand pat in the event of a Gordon absence thanks to the presence of youngsters like Antonio CallawayRashard Higgins, C.J. Board, Da’Mari Scott, and Damion Ratley.

Bryant averaged just 12.1 yards per reception in 2017, but his resume suggests that he could be capable of more in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns To Work Out Johnathan Hankins

The Browns will work out defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins on Wednesday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. This marks Hankins’ first known meeting with a club since April. 

[RELATED: Free Agent Stock Watch: Johnathan Hankins]

Last year, Hankins was among the league’s most sought-after free agent defensive tackles. It’s not clear why his market has dragged this year, but it’s possible that his camp has been asking for significantly more money than what he has been offered thus far. After all, that’s what happened last year. In 2017, Hankins’ camp told teams that he was looking for $15MM per year. Soon after, the asking price was reduced to a more reasonable $10MM per season, and he eventually accepted a $9MM/year pact from the Colts.

Two of the Browns’ defensive tackles – Trevon Coley and Caleb Brantley – are dealing with ankle injuries, so Hankins could provide the club with a healthy alternative. If signed, Hankins would almost certainly start in the team’s 4-3 scheme. He played in a 3-4 setup with the Colts last year, but Hankins had only worked out of a 4-3 scheme prior to joining Indianapolis.

Hankins didn’t offer much against the pass in 2017, but he was exceptional against the run. In fact, only Damon Harrison and Ndamukong Suh ranked better against ball carriers, according to Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Unsure About Dez Bryant’s Fit

The Browns finally got their date with Dez Bryant. However, they’re not necessarily certain about signing him. There is internal discussion about whether Bryant is the right fit for the Browns at this time, sources tell Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland

When Josh Gordon experienced a setback in his recovery earlier this summer, the Browns were concerned about their group at wide receiver. However, they’re not feeling quite as desperate after seeing their group of young receivers improve in recent weeks. Beyond Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins, they’ve also gotten positive results out of C.J. Board, UDFA Da’Mari Scott, and sixth-round pick Damion Ratley.

It has been said that Bryant is focused on finding the right fit, but the same goes for the Browns in this instance. When the two sides meet – likely on Thursday – the Browns will also be careful to gauge Bryant’s temperament as they consider the effect he may have on the team.

Bryant, 29, hasn’t topped 1,000 yards receiving since 2014 and his 12.1 yards per reception in 2017 was the lowest average of his career. But he can still post up opposing defensive backs near the end zone and he’s motivated to silence his critics in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Callaway Was Disciplined With Preseason Game

The Browns were seemingly dealt a big blow last week when receiver Antonio Callaway was arrested. News of the arrest came right after the team had traded away Corey Coleman to the Bills, and not too long after Josh Gordon left the team for an indefinite period of time. Callaway seemed poised to start as a rookie, but his arrest clouded the whole situation.

Callaway apparently did not inform the team of his arrest, and the Browns only found out through media reports. Many speculated the Browns would discipline him internally for failing to tell the team about the incident, but it appears no suspension will be forthcoming. Coach Hue Jackson said after practice today that the team’s punishment for Callaway was playing him nearly the entire game in the preseason opener, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal (Twitter link). It seems like Callaway dodged a bullet, as many organizations would’ve been a lot more displeased with his failure to inform them of his situation.

Browns To Meet With Dez Bryant

The Browns are expecting a visit from free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant during the middle of next week, likely Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Rapoport notes that Bryant has been waiting for the right fit, so Bryant’s sense of how well he meshes with the personnel in Cleveland could be as important as whatever contract offer they make. 

On Thursday, GM John Dorsey told reporters that Bryant would not return his phone calls. The unorthodox decision to make that news public appears to have paid off. On Thursday night, Bryant tweeted that he would in fact be meeting with the Browns.

Bryant’s willingness to play for Cleveland had been in doubt, but it sounds like he’s at least open to the possibility. And, without a clear group of suitors here in August, Bryant may not have a ton of options left. That’s not to say that landing with the Browns would be a bad outcome for Bryant – this year’s Browns are clearly a more talented bunch than last year’s, and he will have extra opportunities to shine if star Josh Gordon misses regular season games. Even if Gordon is good to go, there should be plenty of deep ball opportunities for him, and he can take advantage of softer coverage as teams focus Gordon and slot star Jarvis Landry.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Antonio Callaway

  • After being cited for marijuana possession over the weekend, Browns receiver Antonio Callaway intends to fight the charge by arguing the drugs weren’t his, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Cleveland management wasn’t made aware of Callaway’s arrest until media reports surfaced, and the club made it clear to Callaway that his actions were unacceptable, as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes. However, general manager John Dorsey believes Callaway did not actually smoke marijuana on the night he was cited, and indicated the Browns have a “low tolerance” policy — in contrast to a “zero tolerance” approach — for minor transgressions. Callaway, a fourth-round rookie out of Florida, is already impressing in his first NFL action tonight as Cleveland faces the Giants.

Dez Bryant Says He’ll Visit Browns

Browns general manager John Dorsey said earlier today that he can’t reach Dez Bryant in order to set up a visit, but the veteran wideout is now indicating he will in fact meet with Cleveland. “Starting my visits next week…I’m coming to the Land to see you Mr Dorsey,” Bryant tweeted on Thursday night.

While the Browns have been intrigued by Bryant for some time, Bryant’s willingness to play for Cleveland had been in doubt. Bryant simply tweeting that he’ll meet with the Browns next week certainly doesn’t make the prospective visit official, but if he’s willing to sit down with Dorsey & Co., there’s no real reason why a meeting wouldn’t occur.

Cleveland is in need of help at the wide receiver position: not only is the club waiting for Josh Gordon to return to practice (he’s currently dealing with off-field issues), but it just traded presumptive starter Corey Coleman to the Bills on Sunday. At this point, the Browns are planning to start Jarvis Landry and rookie wideout Antonio Callaway in two-wide sets.

Bryant, 29, certainly comes with risk, as he hasn’t topped 1,000 yards receiving since 2014, while his 12.1 yards per reception in 2017 was the lowest average of his career. But he can still post up opposing defensive backs near the end zone, and would be a tantalizing option for most quarterbacks. Recently, Bryant has expressed interest in signing with the 49ers, while Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report indicated that league insiders’ “best guess” is that Bryant will land with San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dez Bryant Won’t Return Phone Calls From Browns

The Browns’ interest in Dez Bryant has been well-documented over the past couple of weeks. Apparently, that interest is not being reciprocated. On Thursday, GM John Dorsey told reporters that he would meet with Bryant next week, “if he returns a phone call. He won’t return any phone calls,” (Twitter link via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). 

With Bryant apparently disinterested in joining Cleveland, Dorsey says the team will meet with other receivers in the coming days – ones that hopefully do have interest in suiting up for the Browns. That list may include Brandon LaFell, who is reportedly on the team’s radar following his release from the Bengals.

Earlier this week, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com reported Cleveland was under the impression that Bryant is “not seriously interested” in joining the Browns, and Dorsey’s comments jibe with that sentiment. The Browns traded wideout Corey Coleman to the Bills on Sunday, so they’re currently relying on Jarvis Landry and rookie Antonio Callaway as their starters, at least until Josh Gordon returns to the club.

While a number of teams have been tangentially linked to Bryant since he was released by the Cowboys, no clubs aside from the Ravens and Browns have been directly interested in the former first-round pick. In fact, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com has reported many teams are unwilling to consider Bryant even at the minimum salary. Bryant had been expected to land a new deal inJuly, so the clock is now ticking on the veteran wideout.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Browns, Antonio Callaway

More Browns wide receiver tumult surfaced this week when Antonio Callaway received a citation for marijuana possession. This marks the latest trouble for Callaway, and new details surfaced on Wednesday.

The rookie wide receiver said the car he was driving that contained the marijuana was transported from his native Florida recently, and he indicated he didn’t know marijuana was present in the vehicle. But TMZ reports gun parts and ammunition were found in the car as well. The police officer who searched the car found the backstrap of a firearm and several rounds of ammo, TMZ reports.

This figures to increase chances the rookie may incur an NFL suspension.

Due to a diluted sample at the Combine, Callaway entered the NFL in Stage 1 of the substance-abuse program. Hue Jackson‘s engaged in several discussions with the young wideout about his status, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, but he was not told about Callaway’s incident until news broke.

Obviously I’m just now finding out about it,” Jackson said, calling this sequence of events “alarming.” “… We will have a very strong conversation about it.

We cannot run from that. Obviously, the red flag is up, because that’s (a type of trouble) that he’s had. Let me work through it, see what it is and go from there.”

This incident occurred nearly 20 hours before the Browns traded Corey Coleman. Callaway was suspended from the Florida Gators program last season but has impressed during camp. The Browns are currently without Josh Gordon and unloaded Coleman on Sunday night, opening the door for more reps for other roster hopefuls. Callaway seems like a lock to make Cleveland’s 53-man unit.

We’ve had no slip ups, no issues,” Jackson said, adding Callaway had “been great” in his conduct since arriving via fourth-round pick. “This is a young player, who obviously made a bad decision or bad choice. I have to find out.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dez Bryant “Not Seriously Interested” In Browns?

The Dez Bryant-to-Cleveland train keeps getting stalled. Per Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link), the Browns are under the impression that Bryant is “not seriously interested” in joining Cleveland.

Browns general manager John Dorsey first admitted his club’s Bryant intrigue at the end of July, and subsequent reports indicated the two parties had “mutual interest.” However, as of last week, no official date for Bryant to meet with Cleveland had been scheduled, and Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com added the Browns only have a “modicum of interest” in adding the 29-year-old pass-catcher.

On Sunday, Cleveland traded wide receiver Corey Coleman to the Bills in exchange for a 2020 seventh-round pick, but that swap wasn’t intended to create space for Bryant, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Additionally, the deal wasn’t indicative of Josh Gordon‘s current status, as the Browns believe he’ll eventually rejoin the team.

Even before Coleman was traded, the Browns had expressed a desire to use Jarvis Landry — who ran 72.7% of his routes from the slot with Miami in 2017, as a part-time outside receiver. With Coleman gone, and Gordon’s status up in the air, Cleveland may have to rely on other options such as rookie Antonio Callaway, Rashard Higgins, and Jeff Janis to fill in the blanks.

While a number of teams have been tangentially linked to Bryant since he was released by the Cowboys, no clubs aside from the Ravens and Browns have been directly interested in the former first-round pick. In fact, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com has reported many teams are unwilling to consider Bryant even at the minimum salary. Bryant had been expected to land a new deal inJuly, so the clock is now ticking on the veteran wideout.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.