The Cleveland Browns added one player to the COVID-19 reserve list and had one additional coach test positive for COVID-19 on Friday, but have been permitted by the NFL to re-open their practice facility and will practice on Friday afternoon, according to a report by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The Browns closed their facility on Tuesday after five positive tests, including head coach Kevin Stefanski and Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio. The facility remained closed as the Browns missed scheduled practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Two additional players were added to the list on Thursday, including starting safety Ronnie Harrison.
Friday, safety Jovante Moffat was added to the COVID-19 reserve list, joining Harrison and cornerbacks Kevin Johnson and Denzel Ward as defensive backs on the list. Assistant offensive line coach Scott Peters tested positive on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Despite the positive test, the Browns were given permission to open their facility and have a practice session scheduled for 4:30. They will be able to practice again on Saturday before traveling to Pittsburgh, giving Cleveland two instead of the customary three game-week practices.
Peters and offensive line coach Bill Callahan and Stefanski as coaches that will not be on the sideline on Sunday. Coaching assistant Ryan Cordell is expected to once again coach the Cleveland offensive line. Special teams coordinator Michael Priefer will replace Stefanski as head coach, with offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt calling plays.
Report: Ryan Switzer Re-Signs with Cleveland Browns on One-Year Deal
Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Ryan Switzer is resigning with the Cleveland Browns on a one-year deal, according to a report by ESPN’s Field Yates.
The Browns are signing WR Ryan Switzer (@Switz) to a one-year deal. He caught on with Cleveland this past season and now another year to keep growing in that system.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 22, 2021
Switzer was signed to Cleveland’s practice squad on Oct. 1, but did not appear in a game this past season.
He had spent the previous two seasons with Pittsburgh, but was cut back in September. Switzer caught 44 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown during his Steelers tenure.
A Charleston, West Virginia native, Switzer was a start during his collegiate career at North Carolina, Over four seasons, Switzer caught 243 passes for 2,903 yards and 19 touchdowns, while also returning 99 punts for 1,082 yards and seven scores.
He was originally selected in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.
Offseason Primer: Cleveland Browns to Build on First Trip to Playoffs with Baker Mayfield & Co.
Coming off a dream season that saw the franchise reach an 11-5 record and win its first playoff game in 27 years, the Cleveland Browns enter an offseason of optimism ready to reload and hungry for more.
While the roster was relatively unchanged from the one that underachieved in 2019, the difference for the 2020 Browns was first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski, who helped Cleveland reach its full potential and unlocked quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield had an excellent season under Stefanski’s leadership and play calling, passing for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns with a career-low eight interceptions. Mayfield’s protection of the football was his most crucial improvement, as he tossed just two interceptions over Cleveland’s final eleven games.
Surprisingly, Mayfield’s play truly took off after the Browns lost star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a torn ACL. In addition to the decreasing turnovers, he threw 20 touchdowns to close out the regular season and in Cleveland’s two playoff games, all without Beckham.
The Browns also recommitted to their punishing ground game in Beckham’s absence. Running back Nick Chubb was dominant in 2020, rushing for 1,067 yards and 12 touchdowns, while averaging an insane 5.6 yards per carry. His backfield partner Kareem Hunt was no slouch either, 1,145 scrimmage yards and eleven total touchdowns of his own. The backs were great, but the credit must first be given the outstanding Browns offensive line that boasted at least three All-Pro selections.
Cleveland’s success in Beckham’s absence raises an interesting dilemma. Do the Browns need Beckham? Would it behoove them to trade Beckham and his $15,750,000 cap hit away this offseason? Such a move would not only free up additional cap space, but also likely provide a hefty return as well, considering the assets clubs have recently acquired when trading away star wideouts.
Cap space and assets gained in a potential deal for Beckham would allow the Browns to immediately address their porous secondary, which surrendered six 300-yard passing games this season. Beyond cornerback Denzel Ward, Cleveland can improve across the board in back end. If they decide against resigning corner back Kevin Johnson and safety Andrew Sendejo, they could look to boost their secondary via trade, free agency or April’s raft.
The Browns’ defense was led by edge rusher Myles Garrett, who had another dominant season solidifying himself as one of the NFL’s best players. Garrett posed 12 sacks, ten tackles-for-loss and four forced fumbles in 2020, while also recovering a pair of fumbles. By all accounts, the defensive end will be a menace for years to come.
With a renewed confidence that they have finally put their decades of mediocrity behind them, the Browns will look to reload through the free agency and their seven draft picks, as they continue to purse their first ever AFC North title.
Notable Free Agents:
DE Olivier Vernon
CB Kevin Johnson
CB Terrance Mitchell
S Karl Joseph
ILB B.J. Goodson
RT Kendall Lamm
SS Andrew Sendejo
OLB Malcolm Smith
WR Jojo Natson
DT Larry Ogunjobi
K Cody Parkey
WR Rashard Higgins
OLB Elijah Lee
WR Taywan Taylor
WR KhaDarel Hodge (Restricted)
DT Vincent Taylor
WR Marvin Hall
LB Tae Davis
CB Tavierre Thomas (Restricted)
S Tedric Thompson
Cleveland has an active cap of $192,084,011 entering the 2021 offseason, according to Spotrac. The Browns have the 13th-most cap space in the league at $12,775,658.
Offseason Primer: Ravens Still Looking for Weapons for Lamar Jackson, with Cap Space to Spend
With their 2020 season ended in the Divisional round by the Buffalo Bills last Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens look ahead attempting to retool, reload and continue the growth and maturation of quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson took a step back from his 2019 campaign that made him the youngest MVP in NFL history, passing for 2,757 yards and 26 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He did rush for seven scores and eclipsed 1,000 yards on the ground for the second-straight season, becoming the first quarterback in league history to do so.
Entering this offseason, Baltimore’s primary objective should be to acquire Jackson a true No. 1 receiver on the outside. While wide receiver Marquis “Hollywood” Brown caught a career-high eight touchdowns, the Ravens failed to have a pass catcher reach 800 receiving yards. If they do not address the need through the draft, notable options in free agency will likely include, Chris Godwin, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown.
Baltimore’s run game was dominant again last season, as they led the league with 3,071 yards. Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins appears to be a budding star, rushing for 805 yards and a team-high nine touchdowns. His emergence factored into the Raven’s decision to cut veteran running back Mark Ingram on Tuesday.
Turning to the defensive side, the Ravens were stout in 2020 under defensive coordinator Don Martindale. The unit ranked second in scoring defense at 18.9 points allowed per game, and had 22 takeaways. Cornerback Marlin Humphrey led the league with eight forced fumbles, while his partner Marcus Peters had four interceptions and four forced fumbles of his own. Lastly, rookie linebacker Patrick Queen had a strong showing as well with 106 total tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, three sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
The Ravens already own the sixth-most cap space in the league, but could create more if they decide to part ways with some of their more expensive veterans, especially on the defensive side. 34-year-old defensive end Calais Campbell and 31-year-old defensive tackle Brandon Williams are both making north of $10 million next season, but such such moves could significantly hinder Baltimore’s front with edge rushers Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue both entering free agency.
Baltimore clearly has plenty of tough decisions to make and different paths they may choose to follow as they look to continue the quest for their franchise’s third Super Bowl.
Notable Free Agents:
OLB Matthew Judon
DE Yannick Ngakoue
WR Willie Sneed
RB Mark Ingram
DE Derek Wolfe
C Matt Skura
QB Robert Griffin III
SS Anthony Levine
WR Chris Moore
OLB Tyus Bowser
OLB Pernell McPhee
LS Morgan Cox
G D.J. Fluker
CB Tramon Williams
WR Dez Bryant
DE Jihad Ward
DT Justin Ellis
SS Jordan Richards
TE Eric Tomlinson
WR DeAndrew White
RB Gus Edwards (Restricted)
P Johnny Townsend (Restricted)
CB Devontae Harris
LB Chris Board (Restricted)
Baltimore has an active cap of $136,542,293 entering the 2021 offseason, according to Spotrac. The Ravens have the sixth-most cap space in the league at $28,604,089.