Cleveland Browns have released Josh McCown

The Cleveland Browns have a crowded quarterback depth chart, but now they’ve shed Josh McCown.

During their 1-15 2016 campaign, the Cleveland Browns used three starting quarterbacks and five quarterbacks attempted at least 24 passes. Josh McCown started three games, and played in five total contests, but he again struggled to stay on the field and his time with the Browns seemed sure to end after the season.

On Tuesday that came to fruition, with the Browns announcing they have released McCown and cornerback Tramon Williams. McCown was due to make $4.375 million in salary and bonuses this year, and the Browns have now added a little bit more to their league-high in salary cap space heading into the offseason.

The Browns are unlikely to use the No. 1 overall pick this year on a quarterback, but they also have the No. 12 pick and could take a signal caller there. 2016 third-round pick Cody Kessler started eight games as a rookie, completing a solid 65.6 percent of his passes, but he also suffered two separate concussions and took a beating behind an abysmal offensive line. Robert Griffin III could be brought back by the Browns, but here’s more likely to be cut on the heels of another injury-shortened season.

The Browns’ long-running struggles stem from multiple misses early in the draft on quarterbacks. McCown wasn’t completely a lost cause over his two seasons in Cleveland, with a completion percentage just over 60 percent with an 18:10 touchdown-to-interception ratio over 13 games (11 starts). But approaching 38 years old (July 4), with a new injury virtually every time takes the field these days, he can’t be relied on at all as a starter.

Browns head coach Hue Jackson has talked highly of McCown’s ability to become a coach when he retires. But Mike Garofolo of NFL Network reported McCown intends to continue playing, and he would fit well as a veteran backup somewhere next season.

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