Grant Delpit

J.C. Tretter Tests Positive For COVID-19

The Browns are set to run into more offensive line unavailability because of the coronavirus. J.C. Tretter announced (via Twitter) he turned in a positive COVID-19 test Thursday.

Barring a false positive, this will rule the Pro Bowl snapper out for the Browns’ Christmas Day matchup against the Packers. Tretter’s positive test follows Jedrick Wills and Wyatt Teller also doing so. Teller returned to play against the Raiders after testing positive, but the two-day window here would make Tretter following suit all but impossible.

Wills remains on the Browns’ virus list, but swing man James Hudson is back on the active roster, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. Cleveland tinkered with its O-line as a result of Wills’ positive, sliding Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio to left tackle. Tretter, however, has not missed a game since signing with the Browns in 2017. The Browns also moved Grant Delpit off their virus list.

Tretter, 30, is also the NFLPA president. He said the union’s push to postpone three games last week — rather than cancel them, a path Tretter indicated the NFL preferred — led to the three Week 15 games being moved rather than players losing out on per-game salaries. His absence Saturday will certainly affect a top-tier Browns O-line in a pivotal game. The Browns’ shorthanded loss Monday dropped them to 7-7; FiveThirtyEight.com gives Cleveland a 15% chance to make the playoffs.

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Browns Place RB Kareem Hunt, Seven Others On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Browns have placed more players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including running back Kareem Hunt. The team announced that the following players have landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

In his third season with the Browns, Hunt has totalled 386 rushing yards and five touchdowns, along with an additional 174 yards on 22 catches in eight games. The 26-year-old has been a key member of the Browns’ backfield alongside Nick Chubb, helping the team average 143.5 rushing yards per game, ranking fourth in the NFL.

The team also announced that offensive assistant coach T.C. McCartney has tested positive for COVID-19. We learned earlier today that the NFL was pushing Saturday’s game between the Browns and Raiders to Monday.

Meanwhile, Cleveland activated linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. from the reserve/COVID-19 list, and they’ve signed quarterback Kyle Lauletta to the active roster off the Jaguars practice squad. Lauletta, 26, has appeared in just two NFL games. Both were with the Giants in 2018, where he went 0-for-five with one interception. He has since spent time on the Eagles’, Falcons’ and Browns’ practice squads, only going to Jacksonville’s after being waived at the end of August.

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QB Nick Mullens Expected To Start For Browns On Saturday

7:52pm: Cornerback A.J. Green and linebacker Jacob Phillips have also tested positive for COVID-19, reports Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal (via Twitter).

4:59pm: The Browns will likely have to turn to their third-string QB for Saturday’s matchup against the Raiders. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), quarterback Case Keenum has tested positive for COVID-19. With Baker Mayfield already on the reserve/COVID-19 list, this means Nick Mullens is in line to start.

[RELATED: Browns’ Baker Mayfield Tests Positive For COVID-19]

The Browns are facing at least five more positive tests in addition to Keenum, according to CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones (on Twitter). This would bring the total to 20 players on the Browns who have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. One of those players is Grant Delpit, as Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal tweets that the safety tested positive. While the Browns are eyeing a handful of absences, coach Kevin Stefanski wouldn’t rule out any players following the NFL’s changes to COVID protocols.

“Certainly when they tell me we have run out of days in terms of negative tests and those type of things, then it will be official, but I don’t know that we’re ruling any of those guys out just yet,” Stefanski said (via Ulrich).

Either way, it’s looking like Mullens will be forced into the lineup for a crucial start. The 26-year-old has spent the majority of the 2021 campaign on Cleveland’s practice squad, although he is coming off a 2020 campaign where he started eight games for the 49ers. Mullens is 5-11 in his 16 career starts, and his 4,405 passing yards are the second most by any quarterback in their first 16 career starts in NFL history (behind Patrick Mahomes (h/t to ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter)). Mullens also has 25 career touchdowns vs. 22 interceptions.

Keenum started one game for the Browns this season, completing 21 of his 33 pass attempts in a win over the Broncos. In total, the 33-year-old has seen time in six games for Cleveland this season, tossing one touchdown vs. zero interceptions.

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AFC North Notes: Lamar, Schobert, Browns

Even after Josh Allen‘s Bills extension, the Ravens and Lamar Jackson are continuing their methodical approach to what will be the biggest contract in franchise history. Although Jackson expressed happiness for Allen landing a $43MM-per-year deal with a record guarantee, the fourth-year Baltimore quarterback said his extension will come in due time. John Harbaugh, who has said Jackson will be extended either this year or next, added (via Baltimore Beatdown’s Joshua Reed) that Allen’s deal does not change anything regarding the Ravens’ negotiations with Jackson. Allen’s deal almost certainly will affect Jackson’s, potentially setting up the 2019 MVP to command a Patrick Mahomes-level salary without the 10-year commitment.

The quarterback market catching up to Mahomes’ $45MM AAV so quickly may make things interesting in Kansas City in the coming years, with the 2018 MVP signed through 2031. The bulk of the recent big-ticket quarterback contracts have come before passers’ fourth seasons, so time is running short for the Ravens and their agentless QB to agree on a deal that will allow Jackson to make more than $1.78MM this year.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Shortly after trading for Joe Schobert, the Steelers have restructured the veteran linebacker’s contract. Schobert’s 2021 cap number has dropped to $1.74MM, with Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeting the move will create nearly $2MM in cap space. The Steelers frequently restructure contracts to create cap space, and the team has a rather critical contract to complete soon. T.J. Watt has gone through with a partial hold-in, staying out of team drills until he lands an extension. The Steelers are not believed to be eyeing a Minkah Fitzpatrick re-up until next year, with the safety under contract through the 2022 season, putting a Watt deal center stage. Watt’s contract is up after 2021.
  • The Steelers are preparing Schobert for a big workload. The former Browns linebacker is slated to start, be Pittsburgh’s dime ‘backer and wear the green dot that signifies he will communicate with coaches pre-snap, Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com tweets. Quite the plan for a player who has been with the team less than a week, but Schobert played 99% of his team’s defensive snaps in each of the past two seasons. Pittsburgh’s designs for Schobert will mark a transition for Devin Bush, but Steelers DC Keith Butler said (via The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette; subscription required) the team wants the former first-round pick to focus solely on returning to full strength. Bush is coming back after suffering an ACL tear last October.
  • Grant Delpit‘s comeback continues to hit snags. Completing a return from the Achilles rupture he suffered last August, Delpit injured his hamstring after just nine practice snaps. The Browns safety has since aggravated that hamstring issue and will miss more time, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. Delpit was already iffy for Cleveland’s Week 1 game in Kansas City. The LSU product missing the start of the Browns’ season now looks likelier.

Grant Delpit Week 1 Status In Doubt

After missing his rookie season, Grant Delpit is set to be a key Browns defender this year. But the 2020 second-round pick is behind in his pursuit of making his NFL debut in Week 1.

The final steps of Delpit’s Achilles rehab delayed his training camp start, and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer adds that the second-year safety has run into a hamstring problem that may well keep him out of the Browns’ Week 1 game against the Chiefs. After suffering the hamstring injury during camp, Delpit has encountered a significant setback in his recovery from that ailment, per Cabot.

This will leave Delpit battling uphill in his quest to play a major role for the Browns early this season, given the reps he will stand to miss in the leadup to Week 1. Delpit, who suffered the Achilles’ tendon rupture in late August of last year, was sprinting by May and expecting full clearance come camp. This latest malady has interfered with the former Thorpe Award winner’s comeback.

The Browns are uniquely equipped to withstand a Delpit absence to start the season. They have returning starter Ronnie Harrison and veteran acquisition John Johnson at safety. However, Harrison has not practiced in two weeks because of his own hamstring injury. Cleveland’s potential three-safety setup set for deployment in sub-packages is down to just Johnson, who is teaming with backups Jovante Mofatt and Richard LeCounte III presently.

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Greedy Williams Receives Full Clearance

For the first time in nearly a year, Greedy Williams was a full practice participant. The Browns began their 11-on-11 drills without Williams on Tuesday. A day later, the former second-round pick was full-go, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal notes.

The third-year cornerback is officially off the Browns’ active/PUP list and will attempt to return to Cleveland’s starting lineup. A shoulder nerve issue sidelined Williams during training camp last year — on the same day ex-Williams LSU teammate Grant Delpit suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon — and he went on IR in October. Neither Williams nor Delpit played last season.

The Browns have eased Delpit back into action, but Williams can begin making a legitimate attempt to recapture his starting job. A second-round pick during John Dorsey‘s GM regime, Williams started 12 games as a rookie. While Williams will face stiffer competition for a first-string job this year, he lined up with the Browns’ starting defense during OTAs and was back in that role Wednesday

After using stopgap solutions alongside Denzel Ward in 2020, the Browns were active in bolstering their cornerback group this offseason. Cleveland signed Troy Hill and drafted Greg Newsome in the first round. Williams’ return gives the team interesting depth. The Browns have made extensive outside investments on defense this year, after ranking 25th in DVOA on that side of the ball last season. But the returns of Williams and Delpit also stand to strengthen the unit.

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Grant Delpit Expects To Be 100% By Training Camp

The Browns have devoted considerable resources to their secondary this offseason. They gave John Johnson top-10 safety money, added ex-Johnson Rams teammate Troy Hill and then spent their first-round pick on cornerback Greg Newsome. But the team has multiple high picks returning from injury.

Neither Greedy Williams nor Grant Delpit played a down last season, with injuries sidelining the LSU alums. Delpit has yet to debut for the Browns, having suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon last summer. But the 2020 second-round pick expects to be 100% by training camp, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes.

While Delpit acknowledged he is still battling some pain from the injury, he indicated his rehab endpoint is near. The Browns, like 28 other teams this year, open training camp July 27.

I’ve done a lot to come back in rehab and just do all of that right now. I’m doing sprints, cutting and all of that,” Delpit said, via Cabot. “Just on the backend of my rehab now and just trying to get rid of that annoying pain. It’s coming along, and I should be ready by training camp.”

This is a positive development for the former first-round hopeful. Delpit’s timeline appeared foggier in April, when he indicated he was a few months away from full clearance. One of the top players from LSU’s unbeaten national champion team, Delpit suffered the injury in late August last year. These injuries can prove troublesome, even post-rehab, but the recovery timetable generally ranges from nine to 12 months.

Set to return all 11 offensive starters, the Browns will have several new defensive cogs. Delpit will count toward this, despite not being a new addition. The returns of he and Williams will give the team considerable depth and help a defense that ranked 25th in DVOA last season. Cleveland lost a few role players here, with Kevin Johnson, Terrance Mitchell and Andrew Sendejo no longer on the roster. The 2019 Thorpe Award winner joins Johnson and Ronnie Harrison as Cleveland’s top safeties. Harrison’s presence figures to allow the Browns to build up Delpit after the injury.

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Latest On Browns S Grant Delpit

The Browns snagged LSU safety Grant Delpit with the No. 44 overall pick of last year’s draft, which looked to be something of a steal considering Delpit’s upside. Unfortunately, the winner of the 2019 Jim Thorpe Award suffered a torn Achilles during the first week of training camp last August, thereby ending his rookie season before it could even begin.

To help fill the void, Cleveland traded for young Jaguars safety Ronnie Harrison, and it had signed Andrew Sendejo before the Delpit injury. Sendejo, however, was one of the worst safeties in the league in 2020 according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, and he remains a free agent. The Browns did sign former Ram John Johnson in free agency last month, and between him, Harrison — who was PFF’s ninth-best safety — and Delpit, Cleveland will have a young and talented safety corps for defensive coordinator Joe Woods to work with.

But it will still be a while before Delpit can return to the field. The 22-year-old tells Anthony Poisal of the team’s official website that he is a few months away from full medical clearance. “I’ve put so many hours in the weight room,” he said. “That’s just part of life when you’re playing in the league. I’m doing everything I can to get on the field.”

As Poisal writes, Delpit’s recovery timeline should allow him to be ready for the start of training camp. It’s hard to speculate on what his role might be until he gets a couple of weeks of work under him, but his coverage abilities and physicality suggest that he will be a major factor on a team that has made a number of additions to the defensive side of the ball this offseason and that is looking to build on its most successful season since it rejoined the NFL in 1999.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 8/25/20

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

  • Signed: WR Alex Wesley
  • Released: WR Trevor Davis
  • Waived/injured: TE Darion Clark

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Browns’ Grant Delpit Done For Year

Grant Delpit has suffered a season-ending Achilles tear (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). The Browns will place the safety on IR, ending the rookie’s season before it could even begin. 

Delpit was widely viewed as a first-round prospected heading into his junior year at LSU. Then, his stock slipped a bit, allowing the Browns to scoop him up at No. 44 overall. He was expected to be a pillar of the Browns’ young secondary this year, alongside Denzel Ward and former Tigers teammate Greedy Williams. Instead, they’ll have to wait until next year to see what he can do.

Fortunately, the Browns have backup. New addition Andrew Sendejo figures to step into the starting free safety job and join Karl Joseph in deep coverage. Sendejo, a longtime starter for the Vikings, has been first-string for 61 of his career games. Still, he’s entering his age-33 season, and he doesn’t offer the same kind of tantalizing upside as Delpit.

This is just the latest training camp injury for the Browns, following linebacker Mack Wilson‘s knee injury and cornerback Kevin Johnson‘s lacerated liver. On the plus side, Johnson was released from the hospital rather quickly, which could allow for a relatively quick return to action.

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