The Browns on Saturday moved one step closer to the regular season by reducing their roster from 75 to the NFL-mandated 53. The roster will remain this size throughout the regular season with 46 eligible to play on game days.
The following moves were made Saturday:
-- The team terminated the contract of veteran WR Marlon Moore.
-- There were 19 players waived: DL Kenton Adeyemi, DL Chigbo Anunoby, DB Pierre Desir, RB Jahwan Edwards, DB Mikell Everette, OL Dan France, WR Taylor Gabriel, DB Charles Gaines, OL Garth Gerhart, TE Connor Hamlett, TE J.P. Holtz, WR Darius Jennings, OL Kaleb Johnson, OL Mike Matthews, LB Jason Neill, P Michael Palardy, DB Eric Patterson, P Kasey Redfern, LB Justin Tuggle
-- Defensive back Justin Gilbert was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a 2018 sixth-round pick.
-- Veteran P Britton Colquitt was signed.
-- WR Josh Gordon and DL Armonty Bryant, both of whom are suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, do not count toward the 53-man roster as of 4 p.m. Saturday.
"We've had a lot of guys come in and buy in and work their tails off to try to make the roster and we're excited about the 53 guys we've chosen to be Cleveland Browns," Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. "We still have some work to do and we'll see what happens on the claim wire, there are opportunities to improve. But really excited about the 53 guys that we'll enter the season with."
All 14 members of Cleveland's 2016 draft class are currently a part of the 53-man roster. They join two undrafted rookie free agents and a number of first- and second-year players on a team that is heavy on promising, young players.
"We knew heading into this that we could be young. I think Sashi and his staff have done a great job of positioning us for several years in the future but I think he's also positioned us for our football team right now to have an opportunity for some young guys to make an impact," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "Obviously, I think it started during the offseason through the draft, through training camp and up to this point."
The Browns' 53-man roster breaks down as follows.
Quarterbacks (3): Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler; running backs (4): Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson Jr., Raheem Mostert, Terrell Watson; fullback (1): Malcolm Johnson; wide receivers (6): Terrelle Pryor, Andrew Hawkins, Corey Coleman, Ricardo Louis, Jordan Payton, Rashard Higgins; tight ends (3): Gary Barnidge, Randall Telfer, Seth DeValve; offensive line (8): Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, Cameron Erving, John Greco, Austin Pasztor, Shon Coleman, Spencer Drango, Alvin Bailey
Defensive linemen (6): Danny Shelton, John Hughes III, Stephen Paea, Carl Nassib, Xavier Cooper, Jamie Meder; linebackers (9): Christian Kirksey, Demario Davis, Tank Carder, Dominique Alexander, Scooby Wright III, Emmanuel Ogbah, Nate Orchard, Cam Johnson, Joe Schobert; defensive backs (10): Joe Haden, Jamar Taylor, Tramon Williams, Trey Caldwell, Tracy Howard, Ibraheim Campbell, Rahim Moore Sr., Jordan Poyer, Derrick Kindred, Don Jones
Kicker (1): Patrick Murray; punter (1): Britton Colquitt; long snapper (1): Charley Hughlett
Take a look at the Cleveland Browns roster as of September 1, 2017.
Areas of note within the 53-man roster include:
-- The Browns retained all three quarterbacks from last week's cutdown to 75. Robert Griffin III will enter the season as the starter with veteran Josh McCown backing him up.
"Obviously Robert is the starter and then Josh gives us some insurance of a guy that's played in the National Football League and knows exactly what it takes to help a team win in this league," Jackson said. "Then you have young Cody who's finding his way in the National Football League, so it's a good situation to have with a guy that we've made our starter and another guy who has some valuable NFL experience."
-- The Browns kept four running backs, led by Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson, and fullback Malcolm Johnson, a sixth-round pick in the 2015 draft class.
"Having Crow and Duke, who I think can be two of the better players in the league, I thought was really important and obviously they continue to get better and show their worth," Jackson said. "And we have two other young players that are still going to be a part of our organization. And then Malcolm, I truly like to play with a fullback in our offense, I think you've got to have a guy that can line up and do that from time to time, so I think he really came on in training camp and we've got to give him a chance to contribute to our football team."
-- Four of the Browns' six wide receivers were selected in this year's draft, a group led by first-rounder Corey Coleman. Pro Bowler Josh Gordon is eligible to return from his suspension Week 5.
"We've gotten a lot bigger, we've got younger and I think we've gotten better," Jackson said. "Having Terrelle Pryor and obviously our draft pick Corey Coleman is good and it's great to see Terrelle come on. Obviously, getting Josh Gordon back on our football team is huge. You're talking about one of the better receivers in the league and we've got to make sure we hold this thing together until he can get back and we're looking forward to having him back. And you see all of our young draft pick guys from Rashard Higgins to Ricardo Louis to Jordan Payton, those guys, they have ability, so we're glad that they're here."
-- Behind Pro Bowl tight end Gary Barnidge are two players who will experience their first NFL season, 2015 sixth-round pick Randall Telfer and 2016 fourth-rounder Seth DeValve.
"Gary is obviously a Pro Bowl performer at tight end, Randall's done a really nice job all through the offseason, all through training camp," Jackson said. "And then we have a young player named Seth DeValve that we're starting to see more of, he's very athletic and we're glad we have him because we think he'll help our football team as well."
-- The Browns have a mix of experience and youth in an offensive line room that will feature two new starters in 2016. Both Shon Coleman and Spencer Drango were members of Cleveland's 14-man 2016 draft class.
"It's a veteran room but it's also a room that has some youth to it now when you talk about Spencer and Shon, those guys are young and they're on the come, but I think they're going to have an opportunity to contribute to our team hopefully later than sooner but I think they'll definitely play," Jackson said. "But obviously that room, you can't talk about the room unless you talk about Joe Thomas and that's where it starts and that's where it ends. He's the pied piper of that group and he needs to continue to play well for us."
-- The Browns added a veteran piece to their defensive line room Friday with the signing of Stephen Paea. He rounds out the six-man group.
"What I'm excited about is adding another piece to our defensive line so that we can continue to get better," Jackson said. "Danny Shelton is there and Coop, I think those guys are doing a good job, obviously Jamie Meder has done a really nice job and we're really excited about what he brings to the table. Paea, putting him with this group, we think we've got a group that's going to give us a chance and then we have young Carl Nassib who's done an outstanding job. We're really happy he's on our football team because he brings a lot of youthful exuberance to the room."
-- The Browns' linebacker room got younger throughout training camp with the respective departures of Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo. Four of the nine, led by second-round pick Emmanuel Ogbah, are rookies.
"It's a young group, talking about Emmanuel Ogbah who's our second-round draft pick and Schobert who's another young emerging player and those guys will get an opportunity to compete," Jackson said. "Demario Davis will be the leader of that room. He brings a great veteran presence but these young guys that we'll need to step up. But it's a good situation to have because you have some young talent to be with some veteran players but it's a group that's got to continue to grow and continue to get better."
-- Jamar Taylor, acquired from the Dolphins in a swap of seventh-round picks on Day 3 of the 2016 NFL Draft, emerged as a starter after a strong performance in training camp. He joins veterans Joe Haden and Tramon Williams in a secondary that includes a number of new, young faces.
"Jamar was a great find by Sashi's staff and having an opportunity to trade for him, we feel like we've got a starting corner out of that situation, out of that swap of draft picks," Jackson said. "And then you've got Joe Haden that's returning, who we think is arguably one of the best corners in the league. And you have Tramon Williams, a true professional that can play corner or nickel for us. And then you have the young Tracy Howard, who's done a great job and he's earned the right to be on our football team playing in the secondary at safety and at corner. We feel good about the group, we'll continue to look to add as we move forward but we feel good about the guys that we have."
-- Saturday's trade of Gilbert was Cleveland's third of the preseason. The Browns also traded LB Barkevious Mingo to the Patriots for a 2017 fifth-round pick and P Andy Lee to the Panthers for a 2018 fourth-rounder.
"We're continuing to try and take every opportunity to improve our chances and position ourselves for success, sustainable success. And we have a ton of discussions with different teams throughout the offseason and we're able to pull off some trades here that we think position us well and that were mutually beneficial," Brown said. "Good players that can play on other rosters and teams saw some value and for us, they either just weren't fits or we felt like the better opportunity was to take some of the compensation that we were able to receive back. Sometimes those are the tougher decisions to make rather than to trade a player or keep him on the roster for a bit more. But really these are all very tough decisions and we truly appreciate all the guys that came in here and busted their tails to compete for a roster spot."