CLEVELAND -- One day after making 21 transactions to get their roster down to 53, the Browns were scheduled to return to the practice field late Sunday afternoon. They will practice at approximately 4:30 p.m. in preparation for their Week 1 matchup with Pittsburgh.
In the meantime, here are a few more thoughts about the moves Cleveland made on Saturday, and what could be next.
Rex Grossman is the oldest player on the roster. Some teams keep only two quarterbacks on their active roster. Others keep three. The Browns wisely opted to keep Grossman, a 12-year veteran, to bolster a quarterback room that includes Brian Hoyer and rookie Johnny Manziel.
Grossman will give first-year coach Mike Pettine a veteran voice and a safety net in the event Hoyer stumbles and/or Manziel isn’t ready to play. Grossman played for Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in Washington.
“Rex is a veteran,” Pettine said on Saturday. “He’s played in this system. He’s good for the [other] guys in the room, and he also showed that he can still throw it. And that’s the most important thing. He can still play.”
Pettine values defensive backs. Want proof? He kept 12 on the roster – seven cornerbacks and five safeties. Among the corners are two draft picks, first-rounder Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State and fourth-rounder Pierre Desir, and two undrafted rookie free agents. The Browns also added veteran Aaron Berry to match with Joe Haden and Buster Skrine.
“Oh man, we have a lot of talent,” Haden told me recently. “We have a lot of skill players, especially on the back end, in the cornerback room, the safeties. This is the most talented [defensive back] room I’ve definitely been around.”
A dozen rookies made the team. The Browns, who didn’t have a selection after the fourth round of the draft, kept all six of their draft picks: Gilbert, Manziel, tackle Joel Bitonio of Nevada, outside linebacker Chris Kirksey of Iowa, running back Terrance West of Towson and Desir.
Cleveland also kept six undrafted rookie free agents: defensive backs K’Waun Williams and Robert Nelson, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, running back Isaiah Crowell, fullback Ray Agnew and offensive lineman Karim Barton, whom the Eagles cut earlier this month.
There is likely more to come. Said Pettine: “I think the 53 is always going to be fluid,” which means that this 53 is merely the first 53, not the final 53. Look for the Browns to find more help at the wide receiver position.