The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)
Final cutdown to team of 53 players begins
Redwine, Lauletta, Franks among those let go
Aug. 31 this year is NFL Black Tuesday — the day teams must reduce rosters to 53 players by 4 p.m.
“Chase is right there. He’s had a really good camp. Obviously, you don’t like to see a miss — we all know that — but he’s working really hard.”
— Browns coach Kevin Stefanski, on kicker Chase McLaughlin
Aug. 31 this year is Black Tuesday around the NFL — the day all 32 teams must reduce their rosters to 53 players by 4 p.m.
Normally, cutdown day is the Saturday before the first Sunday slate of games, but the NFL decided to change things up this year with a two-week gap between the final preseason game (which happened to be the Browns-Falcons game) and Sept. 12, when 28 of the league’s 32 teams kickoff their seasons.
“In any year, (cutting players) is never easy because it’s also a relationship business,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said Aug. 30 on a Zoom conference. “We spend a lot of time together. You get to know people on a personal level.
“From my perspective, I see them working so hard on the practice field doing everything that I’ve asked them to do. That’s the hard part when you can’t keep everyone, but I wish that the guys that we can’t keep, I hope they catch on elsewhere.”
The Browns cut a handful of players on Aug. 30 — safety Sheldrick Redwine, defensive end Curtis Weaver, kick returner JoJo Natson, defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and quarterback Kyle Lauletta were in the first wave of cuts. Tight ends Jordan Franks and Kyle Markway have been waived.
Linebacker Tegray Scales, signed last week (so was Markway) was also waived.
Defensive end Porter Gustin and cornerback Brian Allen were also let go.
There are normally few surprises among final cuts — even when teams are shedding 27 players at one time. The Browns have to make 19 more moves before the deadline. General Manager Andrew Berry has the final say on roster decisions, but he takes input from Stefanski and the assistant coaches.
“I think it’s like anything else in any business. You want to believe you have a voice in this, and our coaches do,” Stefanski said. “They spend every waking minute with the players in these meeting rooms and out on the field so the coaches have great insight into the players.
“Like I mentioned, though, the coaches also understand that it’s Andrew’s decision. I think he takes in all of the information and will make the decision that’s right for the Cleveland Browns.”
In years past, the Browns have been at or near the front of the line picking over the waiver wire. This
time 25 teams get to pick from discarded players before a claim they make will be honored. The waiver order follows the order of the NFL draft to start the season.
Berry could be on the lookout for a kicker. The job belongs to Chase McLaughlin for now, but McLaughlin’s 57-yard field goal hit off the crossbar and bounced back toward the goal line in the game with the Falcons. He missed wide right on a PAT. He also converted on field-goal attempts from 32 and 28 yards.
“I tell you, with every single one of these roster spots, these guys are fighting to be one of those 53,” Stefanski
said. “Chase is right there. He’s had a really good camp. Obviously, you don’t like to see a miss — we all know that — but he’s working really hard.”
The Browns could claim a kicker or sign a free agent to challenge McLaughlin, but that would mean allotting two roster spots to kickers while a decision is made on which to keep. Down time
The Browns practice Aug. 31, Sept. 1 and Sept. 2 in Berea. All practices are closed to the public. Players are off the next three days then regroup on Sept. 6 in Berea to get ready for the season opener Sept. 12 against the Chiefs.