Browns have busy day on waivers
CLEVELAND – As expected, it was another busy day at Browns’ headquarters as they were awarded six players off the waiver wire and parted ways with six.
Added to the 53-man roster was tight end MarQuies Gray, running back Dennis Johnson, offensive lineman Patrick Lewis, linebacker Brandon Magee, tight end Keavon Milton and running back Bobby Rainey. Players that were released to make room for the additions were linebacker L.J. Fort, offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann, offensive lineman Jarrod Shaw and fullback Brad Smelley. The Browns terminated the contracts of running back Brandon Jackson and tight end Kellen Davis.
Gray was claimed from the San Francisco 49ers. Johnson was with Houston; Lewis was in Green Bay; Magee was with Dallas; Milton was in New Orleans and Rainey had been in Baltimore.
“Again, our roster is fluid right now,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “We still need to address our kicker position, so we’re not done. We’re a young and hungry team with some solid veteran leaders. I like the foundation we have in place as we enter the season. I’m excited to see what we can do.”
The need for depth at running back has been glaring since Dion Lewis and Montario Hardesty were placed on season-ending injured reserve. There obviously wasn’t much belief in the front office that Jackson could fill the role of Trent Richardson’s primary backup, which is why Johnson and Rainey have been added.
Johnson, who played at Arkansas, rushed for 2,036 yards and scored 20 touchdowns (13 rushing) on 345 carries in 50 games for the Razorbacks. He had 129 yards on 33 carries in preseason with the Texans.
Rainey is in his second NFL season out of Western Kentucky. He was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted rookie last year. He was on the practice squad for the first five weeks of the season and was inactive for three games before being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.
“I like the depth we’ve been able to add at running back,” Chudzinski said. “Both Johnson and Rainey have been productive runners. They also give us some options as a kick returner. We’ll look at that in the next few days.”
Gray played quarterback and receiver in 47 games at the University of Minnesota. He passed for 2,053 yards with 14 touchdowns and rushed for 1,731 yards with 12 touchdowns. As a receiver he had 766 yards and six touchdowns.
Milton is from Louisiana-Monroe, where he played in 45 games and totaled 220 receiving yards on 25 receptions.
“Gray is a heck of an athlete,” Chudzinski said. “Milton gives us a guy with good blocking ability and hands.”
Lewis, who played at Texas A&M, can play guard or center. Magee of Arizona State appeared in 44 college games, recording 231 tackles.
“Magee is just a tough, old-school linebacker with good instincts,” Chudzinski said. “I believe he can help us.”