Kenny Britt

Extra Points: Browns, Redskins, Cardinals

The Browns‘ previous regime wasn’t the only target for new general manager John Dorsey today, as he also added some pointed words for wide receiver Kenny Britt — whom Dorsey waived earlier this week — on Thursday morning. “I have no problem making that decision,” Dorsey told reporters, including Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “From a cultural standpoint I don’t think he fits in the prototypical character point of what I’m looking for in terms of a leader. He did not live up to his expectations as a player.” Dorsey went on to say Britt “may have a higher opinion of himself than I have of him as a player, so I thought that was easy.” Britt, who signed a four-year, $32.5MM deal with Cleveland in March, is now with the Patriots on a cheap two-year contract.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Cornerback Josh Norman is fewer than two years into a five-year contract with the Redskins, but following back-to-back blowout losses, and second consecutive season that will end without a postseason berth, the All Pro defensive back sounds frustrated, according to Kimberley A. Martin of the Washington Post. “I came here to win a championship,” Norman said. “If we’re not doing that, what are we doing? Why are we here? Because I’m not going to be a part of something that’s not going to go forward and win a championship. That’s serious. I don’t care about the money.” Norman is currently struggling through his worst campaign since 2013, but Washington’s pass defense nonetheless ranks 11th by DVOA.
  • When Bruce Arians had preliminary thoughts of retirement following the 2016 season, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim “looked into” Sean McVay as a potential replacement, reports Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. McVay, of course, has turned the Rams into a contender in his first season as head coach, and Breer suggests that Keim’s interest in the former Redskins offensive coordinator could hint at what type of candidates Arizona would look at if Arians retires this offseason. That could potentially mean that Keim and the rest of the Cardinals front office would search for both youth and an offensive mind if they are forced to find a new head coach.
  • Jerry Jones isn’t the only owner who believes the NFL should “get out of the investigation business,” per Breer, who adds many in league circles think the NFL headquarters has become “bloated” with staffers. Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t going anywhere soon, as he recently signed an extension through 2024, but several of his underlings could be on the outs. COO Tod Leiweke, chief marketing officer Dawn Hudson, special counsel Lisa Friel, EVP of health and safety Jeff Miller, and general counsel Jeff Pash could all be let go or reassigned, says Breer.
  • The Browns, Patriots, and Texans have all expressed interest in Raiders practice squad offensive lineman Fadol Brown, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who first reported Wednesday that numerous clubs were reaching out to Brown. “I don’t think I’m going to be here next week, to be honest,” Brown said. An undrafted rookie out of Ole Miss, Brown has spent the entirety of the 2017 campaign on Oakland’s practice squad. In a predraft profile, Lance Zierlein of NFL.comsaid Brown “sets a strong edge” in the run game but is a poor pass rusher due to “lazy” hands.

Chiefs, Jaguars Had Interest In Kenny Britt

Before Kenny Britt signed with the Patriots, both the Chiefs and Jaguars had interest in the veteran wide receiver, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).Kenny Britt (vertical)

[RELATED: Details Of Kenny Britt’s Patriots Contract]

Kansas City has been searching for a secondary wideout to step up ever since Chris Conley suffered a ruptured Achilles in mid-October. Both Demarcus Robinson and Albert Wilson have seen more playing time, but neither has been a focal point of the Chiefs’ offense. Of course, there are only so many balls to go around on a roster that includes Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt, but Robinson and Wilson have managed only 25 combined receptions since Conley went down.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, have recently seen the emergence of Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole behind Marqise Lee, but they could have used another weapon for an offense which ranks 15th in passing DVOA. Jacksonville is currently without Allen Robinson (who tore his ACL in the first game of the season) and Allen Hurns, who’s been sidelined by an ankle injury since Week 10.

Both the Chiefs and Jaguars (and Patriots, for that matter) had the option of claiming Britt off waivers from the Browns, as every player — vested veterans included — must go through the waiver process once the NFL’s trade deadline passes. As Miguel Benzan of the Boston Sports Journal notes (Twitter link), Kansas City and New England are both tight on cap space, which could have made taking on the rest of Britt’s salary (roughly $940K) difficult.

Jacksonville, however, has more than $30MM in reserves, so it clearly could have claimed Britt’s cost without worrying about cap space. All of Britt’s guarantees will expire after the 2017 campaign, so the Jaguars could have released him before next season with no further cost. Instead, Jacksonville allowed Britt to pass through waivers and sign with a direct AFC competitor.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Details On Kenny Britt’s Contract

In the spring, the Browns signed Kenny Britt to a four-year deal with more than $10MM guaranteed. After he was cut in December, the Patriots landed him for significantly less. Kenny Britt (vertical)

[RELATED: Patriots Sign WR Kenny Britt]

The Patriots are paying wide Britt a prorated portion of the veteran minimum ($900K) in the first year of his deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. After that, he’ll earn $1.5MM in 2018 year with a chance to reach to $2MM through incentives. However, the second year of the deal is a team option. If Britt does not perform, the Patriots can put him back out on the curb before next season.

Britt’s attitude and work ethic were an issue in Cleveland, but his contract with the Patriots is about as low-risk as it gets. If Britt can play up to even half of his potential without causing a locker room disturbance, he’ll be retained for next year on the cheap. If he causes headaches, then the Patriots can move on without any financial penalty. There’s always the chance that the temperamental wide receiver could mess with the team’s culture, but the Patriots had no such issues when they claimed Michael Floyd off of waivers nearly one year ago today.

Britt’s first opportunity to suit up for the Pats could come this Sunday against the Steelers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Kizer, Steelers

Browns rookie DeShone Kizer is out to prove that he can be the quarterback of the future in Cleveland.

Every time I step out onto the field it’s about doing whatever I can to prove to my teammates and to this organization who I am as a quarterback and as a competitor,” said Kizer (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). “I look forward to being in Cleveland for a long time and I look forward to winning for a long time. Every rep that I get, it’s about making sure everyone knows exactly who I am.”

Still, Cabot argues that the Browns have no real choice but to use their top draft pick in 2018 on a quarterback. Kizer has shown promise at times, but someone from the group of Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, and Josh Allen may provide greater upside. If the Browns finish out with the No. 1 pick – which seems very likely – and come to a consensus on someone from that trio, Kizer’s days in Cleveland could be numbered. Or, at the very least, he could find himself holding the clipboard next year.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson says that wide receiver Kenny Britt did not ask for his release. “I can clarify that for sure,” Jackson said (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal). On Wednesday, the Patriots formally signed Britt to a two-year deal.
  • Steelers cornerback Joe Haden will practice this week after missing a month with a broken leg, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Before the injury, Haden was on the field for almost every Pittsburgh defensive snap. Haden still ranks as the No. 32 cornerback in the league among 117 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.
  • This week, Robert Griffin III said that he nearly signed with the Ravens this year. Thanks to being benched in his final year with the Redskins, injuries in 2016, and his lack of employment in 2017, Griffin has appeared in just five games over the last three seasons.

Patriots Sign Kenny Britt

The Patriots have signed former Browns wide receiver Kenny Britt to a two-year deal, as first reported by Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The team confirmed the move in a press release on Wednesday.

Britt visited the Pats on Tuesday and it didn’t take long for the two sides to get down to brass tacks. Rapoport hears that New England was Britt’s preferred landing spot. "<strong

The Patriots stood out as a strong contender to land Britt after he cleared waivers. After all, the Patriots have an affinity for ex-Rutgers players (likely fueled by their connection to former RU head coach Greg Schiano) and they have a clear need at receiver with multiple injuries in that unit.

Bill Belichick also has a track record for getting the most out of players with perceived attitude problems. Back in 2007, many in the football world figured that Randy Moss‘ best days were behind him after a rocky stint in Oakland. For the low price of a fourth-round pick, the Patriots wound up with one of the game’s most lethal offensive weapons. Britt does not have the talent of Moss in his prime, but he has demonstrated game-breaking ability in the past. Britt was an abject bust for the Browns, and an expensive one at that. Still, he’s just one year removed from a 1,000+ yard campaign with the Rams.

If he can quickly familiarize himself with the playbook, Britt could be in for a prominent role right off of the bat. Top targets Malcolm Mitchell and Julian Edelman have been parked on IR, leaving Britt an opportunity to crack the rotation. Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Phillip Dorsett, and Matt Slater currently stand as the team’s top five receivers.

The Patriots, who fell to 10-3 after being upset by Miami, are seeking to lock down a first-round bye in the final three games of the season. Meanwhile, Britt’s former team continues to look for its first win of the 2017 season.

In related moves, the Pats signed defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois and cut wide receiver Bernard Reedy. Meanwhile, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon has been placed on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kenny Britt Becomes Free Agent

Former Browns wide receiver Kenny Britt has gone unclaimed on waivers (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com). He is now a free agent and eligible to sign with another team immediately. Kenny Britt (vertical)

In his first act as Browns GM, John Dorsey released Britt. The Rutgers product was regarded as one of this offseason’s top free agents, but he failed to produce in Cleveland. The Browns erased him from the roster, but they could not erase their financial obligation to the mercurial wide receiver. Since no one claimed Britt on waivers (as expected), the Browns are still on the hook for $10.5MM in total.

No one wanted to take on Britt’s four-year, $32.5MM contract, but he could be an intriguing low-cost addition for playoff teams. The Patriots have a history of going for ex-Rutgers players and they use a receiver like Britt in the wake of multiple injuries to their WR group. Britt may be perceived as a threat to the balance of the locker room, but Bill Belichick has successfully gambled on unusual personalities in the past.

Britt had just 18 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns for the Browns. However, he’s just a year removed from a 1,000+ yard season with the Rams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Shazier, Britt, McCarron

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Shazier continues to show gradual improvement, though he remains hospitalized. Per Schefter, doctors are controlling and limiting Shazier’s movement as they wait for the swelling and bruising in his back to subside, and it is of course too soon to determine if he will be able to play again. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports adds that Shazier is expected to remain in the hospital for a few more days, but that his prognosis is “optimistic.”

Now let’s take a swing around the rest of the AFC North:

  • Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun writes that, before Jimmy Smith‘s season-ending Achilles tear last week, there was talk that the Ravens could release Brandon Carr to create cap space and rely on Smith and the team’s cadre of young and talented corners. Zrebiec, though, thought that was a bad idea before the Smith injury, and he believes it’s even worse now. Carr has played reasonably well, and Smith’s latest injury is just further proof that Baltimore cannot count on him for a full season (he may not even be ready for the start of 2018). Zrebiec thinks the Ravens should not only retain Carr, but they should also continue to bolster their CB corps.
  • It does not sound as if the Browns will face any discipline for their alleged violation of the Rooney Rule in their hiring of John Dorsey. La Canfora reports that he spoke last night with John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, and Wooten indicated that his concerns with Cleveland’s GM search have been addressed. Wooten added that he has no issue with the hiring of the highly-qualified Dorsey (Twitter links).
  • The waiver period for claiming the contract of former Browns wide receiver Kenny Britt ends tomorrow at 4pm, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes. While Cleveland would love for someone to claim Britt off waivers, thereby absolving the Browns of the balance of his salary, that seems unlikely at this point. Florio writes that Britt wants to sign with a playoff contender if he clears waivers, and that the Patriots could be a team to watch in that scenario.
  • A ruling on A.J. McCarron‘s grievance will be made in February, as La Canfora reports. The Bengals‘ backup QB has argued that he should be an unrestricted free agent when the 2018 league year opens, while the league feels he should be a restricted free agent. In any event, the matter will be resolved before free agency gets underway.

Browns Release Kenny Britt

The Browns have released Kenny Britt, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. Because the trade deadline has come and gone, Britt will be subject to waivers. Kenny Britt (vertical)

This marks John Dorsey‘s first move as Browns GM, and it’s a massive one. This past offseason, the Browns signed Britt to a four-year, $32.5MM deal. He was a monumental disappointment, however, with just 18 catches for 233 yards and two scores to date.

The story on Britt hasn’t changed much since his collegiate days. Although he is a tremendously talented athlete, his suspect work ethic has prevented him from fulfilling his true potential. The Titans used a first-round pick on him in 2009, but he floundered after his first two NFL seasons. The light appeared to go on for Britt last year when he eclipsed 1,000 yards for the Rams, but one has to wonder if he was motivated strictly by his impending free agency.

There was internal conflict between head coach Hue Jackson and former Browns czar Sashi Brown about whether to play Britt, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Jackson was not a fan of the temperamental wide receiver, so it sounds like Dorsey is off on the right foot with his coach. Jackson benched Britt on Oct. 29 against the Vikings and sent him home early when he missed curfew on the eve of their Oct. 15 game against the Texans (Britt was injured, but did not make it back to the team hotel until 1 a.m.).

The league’s 31 other teams will have an opportunity to claim Britt, but it’s not terribly likely that anyone will take on his contract. Meanwhile, the Browns are out $10.5MM – the amount fully guaranteed to him at the time of signing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Browns, Lynch, Broncos, Jets

Kenny Britt is now on thinner ice with the Browns despite his lucrative free agent deal, but there’s now a report that the Browns made an exception to their curfew policy. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports the Browns previously did not enforce their 11 p.m. curfew on injured players. Both Britt and Corey Coleman were declared out for the Texans game, and Schefter reports Britt did not get back to the team hotel until around 1:15 a.m. It’s unclear why the Browns apparently changed their policy, which resulted in Britt and Coleman being sent home. Although, Schefter reports the wideouts returned to Cleveland at the same time as their team. However, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk doesn’t believe the team that employs Josh Gordon and the one that drafted Johnny Manziel would have a double standard like this, where injured players could stay out much longer than their teammates who are preparing to play.

Here’s the latest from around the AFC.

  • The NFL revealed Friday it planned to explore fines and a suspension for Marshawn Lynch, and it came forth with a one-game ban for the Raiders running back. However, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the league will not impose any additional fines on Lynch — other than the docked game check he’ll miss if this suspension is upheld. Lynch stands to lose $110K, from a portion of his base salary and $500K roster bonus. The maximum fine he was facing, if the NFL didn’t go through with the suspension, was $60K.
  • The Broncos cut both Ahtyba Rubin and Kyle Peko from their 53-man roster this week, and some of the reasoning behind these moves centered on Zach Kerr improving to the point he can contribute after a lengthy injury absence, Mike Klis of 9News notes (on Twitter). Signed in March after the Colts non-tendered him, Kerr was expected to be a key rotation presence at defensive end and nose tackle prior to suffering a preseason knee malady. He’s played in one game for the Broncos this season.
  • A Muhammad Wilkerson release has emerged as a key Jets topic this week, and ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini indeed expects Gang Green to follow through with this after the season (Twitter link). Wilkerson has not been the same player since signing his landmark extension at the 2016 franchise tag deadline, with injuries playing a role in that. While the Jets would incur a $9MM dead-money charge — which could be spread out over multiple years if Wilkerson is a post-June 1 cut — they would also save $11MM by parting with the seventh-year veteran.
  • Jay Ajayi‘s chemistry with Jay Cutler may be suffering because of a chronic knee condition that keeps the Dolphins running back out of at least one practice per week, Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com notes. Miami OC Clyde Christensen said Ayaji’s condensed practice time is limiting his development as a pass-catcher. Ajayi has just seven receptions (on 12 targets) for 23 yards through five games. He wasn’t used much in the passing game last season, but the third-year running back remains productive on the ground with his 391 rushing yards ranking seventh in the league.

Kenny Britt’s Roster Spot In Jeopardy?

While neither Kenny Britt nor Corey Coleman were going to play in what turned out to be a 16-point Browns loss against the Texans, the wide receivers did not get to view the game from NRG Stadium.

The Browns sent both of their Week 1 starters home because of curfew violations, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports. Both injured players were not allowed to be with the team during the 33-17 loss, adding more tumult to a Browns season that’s been chock full of it.

Britt, who has battled injuries and poor play this season, received a warning from the Browns, with Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reporting newly acquired pass-catcher’s roster spot is not a given any longer. Cabot reports Britt was told he could be cut if he doesn’t “shape up.”

Knee and groin maladies sidelined the underperforming free agent signing the past two weeks. Those ailments stood to make Britt inactive in Houston, but Cabot reports Britt’s play was a factor in the Hue Jackson-led staff deeming him inactive against the Texans.

Britt is questionable for Sunday’s Titans game in Cleveland.

Both Britt and Coleman met with Cleveland’s coaching staff and apologized, Garafolo reports. Coleman is on IR with a broken hand. Britt has been a disappointment since signing a four-year, $32.5MM deal in March, making just eight catches for 121 yards through four games, and this incident did not help the ninth-year veteran’s stock with the franchise.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.