"We'd like to thank Gary for all he has done for the Browns and the Cleveland community in his four seasons with our organization," said Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown. "He has been a fine representative of our team, and we wish him the best going forward."
Barnidge was a Pro Bowl alternate after the 2015 season but was deemed expendable after David Njoku was drafted on Thursday.
The move is a bit of a surprise. Many NFL teams -- specifically New England -- use two tight ends effectively. Barnidge seemed to be a logical pairing with Njoku in that kind of offense.
Barnidge tweeted Thursday night that he was looking forward to working with Njoku.
Welcome to the TE room @David_Njoku80 looking forward to getting started.— Gary Barnidge (@garybarnidge) April 28, 2017
Less than 24 hours later, he found out he was being released by the team.
I want to thank the Cleveland Browns for giving me my opportunity and looking forward to seeing the change. Time for the next step.— Gary Barnidge (@garybarnidge) April 28, 2017
Barnidge, 31, led the Browns with 79 receptions, 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns in 2015. Last season, those numbers dropped to 55 catches, 612 yards and two touchdowns.
In March at the annual spring meetings, coach Hue Jackson said the position needed to be upgraded.
Njoku, 20, played at the University of Miami.