Churning at the bottom of the list

With more usable players than actual places on the roster, Andrew Berry will focus on churning out the bottom of the Cleveland Browns roster.

For nearly 20 years, the Cleveland Browns have been stuck in a brutally ruthless time loop. The Browns were perpetually two or three years away from being two or three years old. In 2018, the Browns finally broke free from this viciously endless cycle and officially started their clock toward league relevance.

Now, in 2021, the Browns are set to be serious contenders for a Lombardi Trophy. With training camp looming just around the corner, where are the Browns in terms of team building and roster building? With a large majority of their starting lineup already in place, GM Andrew Berry will add the finishing touches to an area that most people don’t pay much attention to, the bottom of the list.

There are many factors that will be taken into account when churning the bottom of the list. The player’s age, as well as his salary, will be weighed heavily when deciding who makes the places 45 to 53. Berry and the Browns won’t want to pay for depth, choosing instead to build from more draft picks. late as well as undrafted free agents. In fact, not paying for depth is crucial when you have as many future contracts on the line as the Browns do now.

The Browns’ personnel department will also scour the other 31 teams in the league for possible victims of the camp and hidden gems on which they had a favorable rating. Last year, Berry managed to hook Curtis Weaver after the Miami Dolphins decided to remove the fifth-round rookie with an injury designation. Although he cannot contribute in 2020 due to injury, Weaver will now have the opportunity to show if he has what it takes to be a key part for Joe Woods and this Browns defense.

Players in the bottom third of the Browns’ 53-player roster will need to be able to contribute on special teams in order to justify their spot. However, there aren’t many holes on this list; the Browns lost their top special teams tackle to Tavierre Thomas. Demonstrating the value of kicking coverage units will be the clearest path for young players looking to claim a spot on the squad.

There is no room for pure development players on this active roster. If the Browns want development candidates, they’ll have to hide them on their practice squad. With as many savvy GMs and personnel departments as the NFL, it’s next to impossible to hide gems in the rough. Poaching the most promising talent has become standard practice in the league, as it should be.

The regular season extra game will focus on flexibility at the bottom of the roster. These are uncharted waters, not just for the Browns but for the league as a whole. It will be imperative to have a plan in place to navigate a season longer than usual. As last season showed us, having usable players on the active squad and training squad can make a difference in January.

This upcoming training camp will be the testing ground for all new players. In years past, training camp was all about figuring out how many end-of-round rookies would start on opening day. But, where the Browns roster is now, competing for the squad is the battle to watch.

The Cleveland Browns are in a good position right now, and with Berry at the helm, that doesn’t appear to change for the foreseeable future.


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