A second-round pick in 2010, Hardesty was placed on injured reserve in August after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. The operation came just days after he sprained his thumb catching a snap from center during practice after he had missed part of training camp with a leg injury.
Hardesty appeared in 23 games over three seasons with Cleveland. The Browns traded three draft picks to move up and select Hardesty with the No. 59 overall selection.
Also, the Browns released wide receiver Josh Cooper. He has been slowed by a shin injury and played in just one game this season.
Cleveland claimed running back and kick returner Fozzy Whitaker on waivers from San Diego. He returned six kickoffs for the Chargers this season before being waived Sunday.