Nakia Griffin-Stewart

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/20/22

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Browns Trim Roster To 53

The Browns are one of the first teams to slash their roster from 80 to 53 players. Here is how Cleveland reached the NFL’s regular-season roster max:

Released:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Placed on reserve/suspended list:

After seeing an NFL-NFLPA settlement increase his suspension to 11 games, Watson cannot return to game action until Dec. 4. He can return to the Browns’ facility in October and begin practicing in November.

With Jimmy Garoppolo recommitted to the 49ers, Jacoby Brissett is seemingly Cleveland’s locked-in QB1. While Brissett bombing in the role could prompt the Browns to pursue Garoppolo’s cheaper contract before the trade deadline, the veteran now has a no-trade clause again. The 49ers also may be interested in retaining the veteran arm in case of an injury to Trey Lance or if the much-hyped prospect struggles.

Receiving a fair amount of hype as a prospect three years before Lance, Rosen has not panned out. He signed with the Browns late in the offseason but, barring a practice squad stay, will be bounced from another team. The former Cardinals No. 10 overall pick has moved from Arizona to Miami to Tampa to San Francisco to Atlanta to Cleveland since 2019.

Hance started eight games for the Browns last season and has been with the team since 2020, arriving as a UDFA. Having been in Kevin Stefanski’s system for three years now, the 26-year-old blocker would make sense as a taxi squad stash — especially with starting center Nick Harris on IR.

Browns To Pursue Tight Ends?

The Browns may have committed to David Njoku this offseason, but that won’t stop the organization from seeking additional depth at the position. ESPN.com’s Jake Trotter writes that the Browns are “a good bet” to pursue another tight end.

Despite Njoku’s wavering commitment to the organization, the Browns inked the tight end to a four-year, $56.75MM extension. In recent seasons, the former first-round pick has struggled to put together a year that’s come close to his 2018 campaign (639 receiving yards…he’s collected 729 receiving yards since). Still, he’ll sit atop Cleveland’s depth chart for the foreseeable future.

The Browns also sound like they’re committed to 2020 fourth-round pick Harrison Bryant. In two seasons with the team, the tight end has hauled in 45 receptions for 471 yards and six touchdowns in 31 games (12 starts). Bryant earned PFWA All-Rookie Team honors in 2020.

After those two, the Browns lack experienced depth. The team moved on from both Austin Hooper and Stephen Carlson this offseason, leaving practice squad TE Miller Forristall as the third tight end. The team added Nakia Griffin-Stewart as a free agent, and they signed a pair of UDFAs in Zaire Mitchell-Paden and Marcus Santos.

Jared Cook, Eric Ebron, and Kyle Rudolph are among the notable TEs still available in free agency. However, Trotter implies that the organization could ultimately make their addition following preseason cuts.

Latest On Browns’ Wide Receiver Situation

Fans of the Browns may have been hoping to add a few more veteran bodies to the wide receiver room this offseason, but, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, the Browns “don’t feel compelled to add a bona fide No. 2 just for the sake of it.” 

Cleveland’s receiving stats last year were nothing short of disappointing. Their wide receiver room was headed by Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry coming into the season with youngsters Anthony Schwartz and Donovan Peoples-Jones eager to contribute. Paired with a three-headed tight end attack comprised of David Njoku, Austin Hooper, and Harrison Bryant, the Browns’ offensive weapons looked poised for success.

Several factors contributed to the team’s lack of production in the passing game. Quarterback Baker Mayfield played throughout the season with a torn labrum, missing some time due to the injury and leading to starts by backups Case Keenum and Nick Mullens. A disgruntled Beckham parted ways with the franchise following a frustrating first half of the season and Landry saw injuries limit his action to 12 games. Peoples-Jones made an impact, leading the team in receiving yards, but without the two leaders of the room, his efforts look less like an impressive No. 3 receiver and more like a disappointing No. 1 target. After Landry and Peoples-Jones, Mayfield mostly targeted his tight ends, with Njoku, Hooper, and Bryant making up half of the team’s top-6 players in receiving yards. Again, much like with Peoples-Jones, the tight end room’s contribution was welcomed, but without a productive 1-2 punch from the receiving corps, it only helped so much.

With veterans Beckham, Landry, and Rashard Higgins all finding their way to the NFC this offseason, the Browns lost their entire veteran presence. To offset the losses, Cleveland brought in Amari Cooper, who immediately slots in as WR1, and the diminutive Jakeem Grant, an expert in the return game. They retain youngsters Schwartz, Peoples-Jones, and Ja’Marcus Bradley, while bringing in an unproven pass catcher in Javon Wims. Through the Draft, Cleveland brought in Purdue’s David Bell and Oklahoma’s Michael Woods II. They also signed a number of undrafted college players in Isaiah Weston, Travell Harris, and Mike Harley. At tight end, the departure of Hooper leaves Cleveland with Njoku, Bryant, and unproven projects like Miller Forristall, Nakia Griffin-Stewart, Zaire Mitchell-Paden, and college basketball player Marcus Santos-Silva.

It seems Cleveland is comfortable moving forward with Cooper and Peoples-Jones as their top two receivers while counting on Grant, Schwartz, and the rookie, Bell, to contribute behind them. They’ll continue to rely on tight ends Njoku and Bryant, leaning on them slightly more now that Hooper is out of the picture.

If the Browns were able to luck into a mutually beneficial deal, they may find themselves reconsidering their mindset on a veteran No.2 receiver. The free agent market still houses distinguished names like Julio Jones, T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, and DeSean Jackson. Past contributors like Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, and Albert Wilson remain on the market, as well. Beckham is currently a free agent who has expressed interest in returning to his most recent home in Los Angeles, but he recently claimed he wouldn’t rule out a return to Cleveland. Former Texan Will Fuller is also available to sign and has expressed interest in rejoining his former quarterback.

Regardless of whether or not they choose to add another weapon to their receiving corps, the Browns are hoping for a different outcome simply by changing the composition of personnel. Perhaps more important than any of the additions and subtractions noted above is the acquisition of quarterback Deshaun Watson. It’s unclear how soon he’ll be able to contribute, but the prospect, alone, of having the three-time Pro Bowler under center is enough to instill confidence in the receiving room as it is for the Cleveland staff.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/24/22

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

  • Waived: C Alex Mollette

Las Vegas Raiders

New Orleans Saints

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/5/22

Today’s minor NFL transactions:

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 2/7/22

Today’s Reserve/Futures contracts signed around the league:

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants 

New England Patriots

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 1/18/22

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Cincinnati Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/25-12/26/21

Here are the NFL moves from Christmas and today:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/29/21

Today’s taxi squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • Signed: CB Tim Harris
  • Released: OL Evin Ksiezarczyk

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Signed: TE Nakia Griffin-Stewart

Tennessee Titans