Nate Burleson

Browns GM Talks QBs, Wideouts, Rookies

Browns general manager Ray Farmer has seen his team steal headlines this offseason, and not necessarily for all the right reasons. Rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel has captivated the media, while star wide receiver Josh Gordon also made news when he received a season-long suspension. On Friday, the general manager spoke to reporters on a variety of subjects, and we have some of the key quotes below (via Nate Ulrich of…

On the team’s decision to release quarterback Rex Grossman, carry two rookie running backs as backups to Ben Tate and solidify their offensive line depth:

“I’ll start with Rex. A lot of discussion went into that decision. I will tell you that we kept two quarterbacks because we felt like there were other players on the roster right now that could contribute to winning games on Sundays. Second question was the backup running backs in pass protection. I would tell you that from my perspective my job is to make sure the guys on the team are talented enough to play and perform. We think we’ve got guys to play and perform. I think the coaches have done a great job preparing those guys, and pass protection’s a part of that. If they’re called upon I’m pretty sure they’ll go out there and they’ll contribute to the roster the best way they can. The final one was the backup offensive line. I said this from the beginning – we’re going to be able to control the line of scrimmage at some point in time. We’re going to want to run the football. We’re going to want to be good up front, and you’ve got to have quality depth up front to do that. We added guys to the roster that we thought would improve our depth and give us a chance to be as good up front as we can be.”

On his wide receivers and the team’s release of Nate Burleson:

“I’m good with our receiving corps. I think the guys that we kept give us an opportunity to be dynamic in a lot of different ways. We have guys that I think can stretch the field. We have guys that I think can be good with the football in their hands. That’s what you want. I will say that the decision not to keep Nate was a tough one, good conversation between he and I about what went into that decision. I’ll leave that conversation private, but I do think that in all my time in football he’s right up there with the pro’s pros of how it was handled, what was said and how that whole thing was orchestrated.”

On whether the number of undrafted rookies who ultimately made the roster was an indication of good scouting or lack of depth:

“I would tend to say it’s good scouting. I would tend to say it’s our guys finding the guys that can help us. I don’t know if that number really every comes into my mind like, ‘Oh my goodness. We passed 15. We can’t be over 15. Cut somebody.’ That just never comes into play. You just want guys who can perform their task at a high level. There are several teams, even now, that are one, two guys different than we are in the league, and somehow there is a notion that we have too many college free-agents. It doesn’t matter to me one iota if the guy was drafted or not. I think one-third of the league is made up of college free agents. We have our share.”

His expectations for first-year coach Mike Pettine:

I’m excited. I really think that he’s built for this. I spent a lot of time with Pett during this offseason preparing the roster and talking about what we’re going to do and what’s the right thing for this football team, and I can assure you when you talk about football and you look in this man’s eyes, he believes that he is going to prepare his team to do battle every single week. I bought in. I don’t know if everybody else is bought in, but I’m bought in. I know who Mike Pettine is and I believe it.”

On carrying 12 defensive backs on his 53-man roster:

“It’s been done, but I will say that anytime you get to your 53, you can be the best 53 guys, regardless of position. The worst thing that could happen is you cut a guy that can play and you know can play, and then somebody scoops him up and he goes and plays well for them. In our mind, when you have an excess, particularly at corner – we have guys that we think can play in this league – you hold onto them. The worst case is when you let them go and somebody gets them. That’s what happens. Our scouting staff has done a really good job in my mind of looking at other rosters because when you look at other players that either got signed to practice squads or were retained on teams, you go through an exercise of who’s going to make rosters, just like everybody else, to try to predetermine who is going to get released, good players don’t get cut. A lot of times, teams find a way to stash them, and when they don’t, it’s our job to then scoop in and scoop those guys up.”

On quarterback Brian Hoyer:

I feel good about Brian. He’s going to do exactly what Brian does. We’re at a point now where we get to the regular season, you become a lot more focused and you things get a lot more honed in. Brian’s going to be prepared. He’s a pro’s pro. He studies it. He works at it. He’s committed to being that guy. His performance will speak for itself on Sunday, but I feel confident he’s going to go out there and play well.”

On whether he’ll continue to seek help for the bottom of his roster:

“It’s never settled. It’s the never ending movie. Like I said, there are teams that take different strategies in how they release and organize their team and as we go through this process there will be opportunities to get other players. And if those players are an advantage of being here, we are going to take advantage of we are at right now. Having the fourth claiming order you get to jump a lot of teams for a guy that you see out there that you want. You’ve got to take advantage of that while you can and that’s what we plan on doing.”

Browns Cut Nate Burleson, Others

5:31pm: The Browns have confirmed the previous roster moves noted below in this post, and have announced their other 14 moves to reach the 53-man roster limit. Here’s the list of players cut from the active roster:

Additionally, Josh Gordon and Marlon Moore have been placed on the reserve-suspended list.

1:20pm: The Browns have also let go of their third-round pick from last season, among other players:

10:00am: The Browns have released veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson,’s Mary Kay Cabot reports on Twitter. The 33-year-old signed with Cleveland in April after having spent the past four seasons with the Lions.

It wasn’t a sure thing that the veteran would make the roster, considering he’s only appeared in 15 games over the past two years. Burleson also hinted that he was considering retiring following the 2014 season. However, at the very least, Burleson was expected to be a veteran leader to the team’s group of young wideouts. As Brian McIntyre tweets, $285K of Burleson’s base salary is full guaranteed.

The Browns will also let go of running back Chris Ogbonnaya, according to Cabot (via Twitter). The 28-year-old has compiled 130 carries since joining the Browns in 2011.

The rest of the Browns moves will be listed below:

AFC North Notes: Burfict, Rice, Burleson, Steelers

Vontaze Burfict is barely into his second NFL contract, but he wants the Bengals to know that he already has deal No. 3 on his mind, writes Coley Harvey of “I told Troy [Blackburn] I’ll be back in 2016,” Burfict said. “Obviously they trust me, and like I’ve said, I want to be a leader of the defense. We have great things to come for the next three years while I’m here.” If Burfict continues to perform at a high level, that next contract will be hefty, whether it comes from Cincinnati or someone else. More AFC North news:

  • If Ravens running back Ray Rice were to have another domestic violence incident, it’s unclear whether he would face a lifetime ban under the league’s new policy, writes Jamison Hensley of Of course, the policy was put in place after (and in response to) Rice’s incident this offseason.
  • With an impressive route and catch last night, veteran Nate Burleson may have sewn up his spot on the Browns‘ roster, writes Tom Reed of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.
  • It is possible the Steelers could carry as many as six wide receivers, though it is not likely, which means the players who don’t make the cut will probably be former Penn State teammates Justin Brown and Derrick Moye, writes Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Darrius Heyward-Bey projects to be Pittsburgh’s fifth and final receiver.
  • After the way Isaiah Crowell ran against the Bears, the Browns will probably have to give him a roster spot since they’d never get him back on the practice squad, writes Pat McManamon of

Nate Burleson May Retire After 2014

Veteran receiver Nate Burleson is entering his 12th season in the NFL, and as he tells Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, it might be his last. Turning 33 in nine days, Burleson indicated that he would feel comfortable hanging up his cleats if 2014 goes as planned with the Browns.

“…I don’t know, the goal is to have a career year and really ride off into the sunset the way I need to,” said Burleson. “A full 16 games. I want to give Cleveland what I wasn’t able to give to Detroit, which is a healthy Nate Burleson for a whole season.”

Burleson was a third-round draft pick by the Vikings in 2002, and four years later was involved in one of the more interesting NFL free agency tales. After the Vikings used “poison pill” stipulations to lure Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson to Minnesota, Seattle responded by utilizing the same tactics to secure Burleson’s services. The former Washington Huskie spent four season with the Seahawks before landing with the Lions in 2010. He was released during the offseason, and signed a one-year deal with the Browns in April.

In Cleveland, Burleson will join Andrew Hawkins and Miles Austin on a receiving corps that will try to replace some of the production lost when Josh Gordon is suspended for either part or all of 2014. Like many players, he wants to make sure his physical health is still unimpaired when his playing career comes to an end.

“Ride off in the sunset, man. Why not?” he said. “If I can help this team and do it the right way, why not? Year 12, age 33, still got my limbs in tact to play with my babies.”

Browns Notes: Manziel, Burleson, Gordon

If this whole football thing doesn’t end up working out, Johnny Manziel has a pretty good fallback option. The San Diego Padres drafted Manziel with the 837th pick in the MLB Draft this afternoon (via Twitter). The Browns rookie quarterback is listed as a shortstop.

According to USA Today’s Nick Schwartz, Manziel played a bit of baseball in high school, so the drafting is not completely random. The quarterback also threw out the first pitch at a Padres game last season.

As ESPN Stats & Info pointed out on Twitter, it’s unlikely Manziel will ever make the major league level (and it has nothing to do with his career in the NFL) – no 837th pick has ever played in an MLB game.

Let’s see what else is going on in Cleveland…

  • After being “blindsided” by the organization over his firing in February, former CEO Joe Banner is unsure whether he’ll return to the NFL. “I’m not going to do anything for now, and whether or not I’m going to come back and do something in football is up in the air,” Banner told Mary Kay Cabot of
  • Wide receiver Nate Burleson says injuries were the main reason why the Lions let him go, write Chris McCosky of The Detroit News. The veteran adds that he considered retiring and was close to accepting a job with one of the large television networks as an analyst.
  • If the Browns decide to trade embattled star wideout Josh Gordon,’s Pat McManamon isn’t convinced the team would even receive a draft pick in return. He refers to the Randy Moss trade in 2007, when the Patriots sent the Raiders a fourth-round pick.

Burleson, Browns Agree On One-Year Deal

According to Adam Schefter of (Via Twitter), Nate Burleson and the Browns have reached an agreement on a one-year deal. There are no details yet regarding the value of the contract. Burleson had also shown interest in the Dolphins and visited Miami a few days ago.

The Browns are widely considered to be in the market to add a wide receiver to spell their breakout First Team All-Pro, Josh Gordon. Many thought the team, which had an incredibly eventful offseason both in the front office with the addition of GM Ray Farmer and on the field with several key players, would perhaps address this concern with Clemson standout wide receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 Draft. The signing of Burleson could show that Farmer might look instead to either a quarterback, one of Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, or Derek Carr, or Auburn tackle Greg Robinson with their first round selection.

Although Burleson has only played in 17 total games over the past two seasons, the Nevada product has proven to be a reliable target over his 12-year career, particularly as a second option. In fact, Burleson’s most successful campaign was in 2004 when he caught 68 passes for 1006 yards while playing alongside Randy Moss. This is intriguing because Gordon was drawing strong comparisons to Moss before he even entered the NFL, evidenced by NFL an executive telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Gordon possessed “Randy Moss-like talents.” Burleson further added to his résumé as a second fiddle wide receiver in Detroit over the past four years, playing with perennial All-Pro Calvin Johnson during his emergence as a generational receiving talent. While Burleson’s recent injury troubles mean he likely will not be lined up opposite of Gordon as a true number two option on most plays, he can likely help take defensive pressure off of the young star.

As Brian Hoyer and Alex Tanney are currently the Browns’ only rostered quarterbacks, it largely remains to be seen who will be throwing passes to Gordon and Burleson in 2014. However, this addition certainly seems to dampen the probability of the Browns selecting Watkins with the fourth overall pick.  


Browns Rumors: Burleson, Mack, Jaguars

The Jaguars hosted Browns free agent center Alex Mack earlier today and it sounds like Jacksonville could be on the verge of extending an offer sheet to him. As the Browns anxiously await the outcome of that situation, let’s take a look at the latest out of Cleveland..

  • Free agent wide receiver Nate Burleson is having dinner with head coach Mike Pettine and wide receivers coach Mike McDaniel tonight in Cleveland, tweets Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer. We heard earlier today that Burleson was set to meet with Browns brass, so tonight’s pow-wow doesn’t come as a surprise. The 32-year-old racked up 191 catches from 2009-2011 but has struggled to stay on the field the past two seasons. Burleson met with the Dolphins earlier this week and Cabot says they’re still in play.
  • If the Browns sign Burleson, he’ll be there as a depth signing, writes Tom Reed of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. If Cleveland added the veteran, Reed notes that it likely wouldn’t dissuade them frm drafting a wide receiver to play opposite Josh Gordon. The Browns also added Andrew Hawkins last month to help them in the slot.
  • If the Jaguars are serious about signing Mack, they may need to play with the pay structure to scare off the Browns, tweets Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap. Of course, the Browns did something similar with Hawkins’ contract in order to get the Bengals to back off.
  • To keep the Browns from matching, the Jaguars might have to offer $25-30MM guaranteed to Mack over the first three years, Cabot suggests (on Twitter).
  • With more than $30MM in cap room to work with, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal looks at Cleveland’s remaining holes.

AFC Notes: Mack, Burleson, Draft

The Jaguars have met with free agent center Alex Mack, reports (via Twitter). Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 confirms that Mack has already visited with the team (via Twitter).

Mack received the transition tag from the Browns earlier this offseason, which gives the Browns the right to match any offer.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC:

  • The Browns have hosted former Lion Nate Burleson, according Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (via Twitter). Burleson, 32, had 191 catches between 2009 and 2011, but struggled to stay on the field the past two seasons.
  • The Titans brought in West Virginia running back Charles Sims for a visit, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN (via Twitter). With uncertainty at the position without Chris Johnson, the team is looking for long-term answers at the position.
  • Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle was taking Raiders questions on Twitter, and discussed if the recent signings of Jacoby Ford and DeSean Jackson would push the team to choose Clemson’s Sammy Watkins with the fifth pick in the draft. Tafur believes that Watkins and Kalil Mack of Buffalo are both in play for the Raiders.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Burleson, Jaguars, Titans

On this day in (sort of) NFL history, Bo Jackson signed a one-year deal with the Chicago White Sox. The year was 1991, and the signing came only three months after Jackson suffered a career-threatening hip injury while playing in the NFL playoffs with the Raiders. Jackson would never play another NFL game, finishing with 2,782 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. Jackson would play in 23 games for the White Sox in 1991 and, after missing the entire ’92 baseball season, would appear in another 160 games between 1993 and 1994. Jackson was the first athlete to be named an All-Star in both the NFL and MLB.

Now, for some more news on the Raiders and other AFC teams…

  • The Raiders will host Northern Illinois defensive tackle Ken Bishop, tweets Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.
  • Free agent wide receiver Nate Burleson will visit with the Browns on Saturday, tweets Alex Marvez of Fox Sports. Burleson met with the Dolphins earlier today.
  • The Jaguars are keeping their options open in regards to trading the No. 3 pick, and Michael DiRocco of looks at a couple of deals that the team could make. The “jackpot scenario,” according to DiRocco, would have to include the Texans selecting a quarterback and the Rams taking Greg Robinson. Plenty of teams would have interest in Jadeveon Clowney, meaning the Jags could move down a few spots while also adding a couple of draft picks.
  • Assuming the Titans draft a running back, there still will not be a bona fide starter among the group,’s Paul Kuharsky says in a chat. According to Kuharsky, snaps will change game-to-game between the rookie, Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster.
  • In the same chat, Kuharsky says he wouldn’t “be surprised” if the team selected a receiver, adding that the team needs one more. When asked which players he would avoid in the first round, Kuharsky replied “the quarterbacks.”

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Burleson, Pats, Jets

As we noted this morning, Jordan Rodgers represents the latest signee for a Dolphins team that has been busy over the last couple days. However, even though the team has reportedly inked Rodgers, Michael Rios, and Kevin Cone to deals in the last 24 hours or so, those weren’t the only lesser-known players brought in for workouts. As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details, ex-Texans receiver Lestar Jean, and former West Virginia receiver J.D. Woods also auditioned for the club on Wednesday, but left without contracts.

Here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • The Dolphins continue to look at receivers and will bring in Nate Burleson for a visit today, reports Steve Wyche of the NFL Network (Twitter link). Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald is a little surprised by the news, since he doesn’t think Burleson would be more than the No. 5 receiver in Miami, and doesn’t think the former Lion would have interest in being buried so deep on the depth chart.
  • Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty was in Florida with Vince Wilfork last week when the veteran nose tackle signed the new deal that will keep him in New England. McCourty tells Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald that he played a role in helping convince Wilfork to remain a Pat, joking that “he kind of owes me a little percent of his contract.”
  • The Jets are “very intrigued” by Florida State wideout Kelvin Benjamin, a team source tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Benjamin will be paying a visit to the Jets, according to Mehta.