Fan favorite Cajuste among cuts
CLEVELAND — Devon Cajuste’s crystals couldn’t ward off being cut.
The long-haired tight end, who became an overnight favorite with Browns fans after appearing on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” was one of 19 players released by the team Saturday.
Cajuste’s easygoing nature, fondness for hand-picked crystals and close bond with his father, earned him a devoted following but that didn’t help him secure a spot on the 53-man roster.
Other notable cuts for Cleveland included: defensive end Nate Orchard, fullback Danny Vitale, offensive lineman Spencer Drango, running back Matthew Dayes and cornerback Mike Jordan — all of whom either started or played significant roles over the past few seasons.
Browns general manager John Dorsey has been aggressive in upgrading Cleveland’s talent since he was hired in December. He’s made numerous trades, and pulled off another one Saturday by acquiring defensive lineman Devaroe Lawrence from New Orleans for a seventh-round draft pick in 2019.
Dorsey also released rookie cornerback Simeon Thomas, a sixth-round pick. The Browns are intrigued with Thomas and could add him to the practice squad if he isn’t claimed.
The Browns were also interested in star defensive end Khalil Mack, but Dorsey may have been scared off by Oakland’s asking price and the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year was dealt to the Chicago Bears. While they didn’t get Mack, the Browns now won’t have to face him when they visit the Raiders on Sept. 30.
Orchard’s release was somewhat surprising since he picked off a pass and returned the interception 64 yards for a touchdown in Thursday night’s win over Detroit. The play earned him praise from coach Hue Jackson, but Orchard was beaten out for a role in the defensive line rotation by Carl Nassib, another of this season’s “‘Hard Knocks” stars.
Dorsey and his personnel staff figure to continue to tweak the bottom of Cleveland’s roster in coming days. Because the Browns had the league’s worst record — 0-16 — last season, the team has first priority of the waiver wire.
Tight end Seth DeValve has a roster spot — for now — despite missing training camp and the exhibition season with a thigh injury. DeValve was the team’s second-leading receiver last season with 33 catches for 395 yards.