Except for the NFL Draft in the spring, no day is awaited with more anticipation among Browns’ fans than final cutdown day, when the front office decides which 53 players have made the team.
And, of course, with the reputation of the dysfunctional team that permeates both nationally and locally, critics were ready to hammer GM Ray Farmer.
First, a couple of things to say about the process. It is a game within the game. Sometimes, players get cut because management knows they can get through unclaimed by another team so they can be put on the practice squad.
Second, the front office knows that the 53 players they decide on Saturday will not be the same players who will suit up a week from today when Mike Pettine’s squad takes the field in New Jersey.
Much of the uproar from fans and media (and even one player) early in the day involved WR Josh Lenz. Lenz had a solid pre-season and a good game Thursday night, but was let go by Farmer.
Lenz is a good player, but the Browns knew if Terrelle Pryor were to be let go, another team would pick him up, and they’ve seen enough of the former Ohio State quarterback to know they would like to see more.
On the other hand, Lenz will probably not be claimed by another team, and could end up on the practice squad. That’s what we mean about a game. And Farmer played it correctly.
The second point involves the final roster as it stands right now. There will certainly be more changes afoot.
Cleveland is only carrying six offensive linemen, which is one or two short of what they will need. As we said the other day, the back ups in place during camp weren’t getting the job done, so we knew Farmer would be looking for help on the waiver wire.
They will pick up at least one lineman via that method this week.
The other big news was that last year’s third round pick, RB Terrance West was either going to be cut or traded. One media member even reported that Farmer and Pettine liked Shaun Draughn better than West. Draughn was cut later that afternoon.
Perhaps West will be traded today and Draughn will be brought back, but what harm is there in asking a team that needs running backs if they are interested in a player who will be a reserve for your team? To us, that’s just being smart.
What if Dallas or Houston were willing to give up a second round pick for West? Then, you’d make the deal, no?
The Browns are probably worried about how West will be in the locker room if he is not getting touches, and are hoping to take care of that issue. But they don’t want to give him away.
We always say everyone is tradeable for the right price. Not that this would ever happen, but if Green Bay offered you Aaron Rodgers for Joe Haden, you would turn it down? Of course not.
The point is, let’s see what happens in the next few days with the roster, because it will no doubt change.
On the other hand, we don’t see any glaring examples of potential starting players getting cut either.
That won’t stop the criticism of the “dysfunctional” Browns though, will it?