Browns release two starters on defense

Some had projected that Chris Gocong would start at inside linebacker next to D'Qwell Jackson, and Usama Young would remain at free safety. Those projections were wrong.

The Cleveland Browns released Gocong and Young on Tuesday, wiping out $6.6 million in salary and creating more needs in the process. Neither move is a major surprise, because Gocong and Young were brought in by the previous regime.

The Browns now have two holes on defense, and they can't fill all of them in this month's draft. Cleveland has one pick in the first 67 selections in the draft.

Gocong, who started every game for the Browns in 2010 and 2011, didn't play last season because of an Achilles injury and was due $4.55 million in salary this season. The top candidates for left inside linebacker now are Craig Robertson and L.J. Fort. Robertson, who went undrafted in 2011, finished second on the Browns last season in tackles.

Young struggled last season in 10 starts at free safety and one at strong safety. He was scheduled to earn $2.1 million in the final year of his contract. Tashaun Gipson and Eric Hagg would compete for the spot if the Browns don't address it in the draft.

The Browns also announced the signing of free-agent kicker Brandon Bogotay, who went undrafted out of Georgia last year. In college, he was the kickoff specialist behind Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, who went to the Pro Bowl last season as a rookie.