McCoy gets backup QB job, Browns release Wallace
Colt McCoy only moved one spot on the depth chart.
After months of speculation the Browns would trade him, McCoy wound up staying with Cleveland as rookie Brandon Weeden's backup quarterback when the Browns waived veteran Seneca Wallace on Friday night to get their roster down to the NFL required 53-man limit.
McCoy, who made 21 starts over the past two seasons, lost his job early in training camp to the 28-year-old Weeden, a first-round draft pick. McCoy's future with Cleveland seemed bleak but he played well during the exhibition season, embraced his role and the Browns decided to keep him over Wallace, who spent the past two seasons as No. 2 QB and part-time starter.
McCoy followed Weeden into each of the Browns' four exhibition games, but coach Pat Shurmur kept his plans at quarterback a tightly guarded secret, leading to speculation the club was trying to make a deal for McCoy, who went 6-15 as a starter.
Instead, he'll start the season behind Weeden, just as he did as a rookie in 2010, when he was the team's third-stringer behind Jake Delhomme and Wallace.
Browns general manager Tom Heckert had a busy day finalizing his roster. The Browns waived 18 players, terminated the contract of Wallace and tight end Evan Moore and traded safety David Sims to Philadelphia for a conditional draft pick in 2013.
The club also placed linebacker Scott Fujita on the reserve/suspended list. Fujita has been suspended for the first three games by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his role in the Saints' bounty scandal. However, earlier this week Fujita said he is planning to play in Week 1 and is confident his suspension will be delayed.
The 31-year-old Wallace was the most notable player cut by the Browns, who open the regular season next week against the Eagles. Wallace was acquired in a 2011 trade from Seattle, where he played for Browns president Mike Holmgren. Wallace started seven games for Cleveland.
After Shurmur named Weeden his starter, Wallace and McCoy were left to battle for the No. 2 job. Shurmur left open the possibility he would keep both QBs, but decided to waive Wallace and his $2.4 million contract and keep Wallace along with Thad Lewis as his third quarterback. Shurmur coached Lewis in St. Louis.
Wallace completed 16 of 27 passes for 195 yards and two TDs during the preseason. In Thursday's 28-20 loss to Chicago, he threw a 2-yard TD pass with 41 seconds left in the second quarter to cap an 80-yard scoring drive. Following the game, Wallace said he wasn't worried about his future.
''This isn't my first rodeo,'' he said. ''I felt like I've done all I've can. Whatever decision is made is made.''
Moore's departure was somewhat surprising. He caught 62 passes in three seasons for Cleveland, which signed him last September to a two-year contract extension worth nearly $3 million per year.
However, after having a big training camp in 2011, Moore had a puzzling season as the Browns struggled to figure out how to best use the 6-foot-6, 250-pounder. He had 34 receptions for 324 yards and four touchdowns - second most on the team.
Moore was slowed by an injury in camp this summer and seemed to become expendable with the development of second-year tight end Jordan Cameron. Cleveland also has veterans Ben Watson and Alex Smith. The team did waive tight end Dan Gronkowski, the brother of New England star Rob Gronkowski.
Sims looked like a lock to make the Browns' roster after a strong camp and preseason. He had two interceptions, returning one for a TD against Green Bay. Another touchdown return was nullified by a penalty.
The Browns are hoping the can re-sign several of the players they waived to their practice squad. Wide receiver Josh Cooper - Weeden's teammate at Oklahoma State -, fullback Brad Smelley and running back Adonis Thomas all made favorable impressions during camp and in games.