Farmer staying busy with transitional Browns roster
BEREA, Ohio – Another day of Cleveland Browns training camp brought another handful of roster moves.
Both the words and the actions of Browns general manager Ray Farmer indicate it’s going to be a busy month-plus on the transaction wire.
"I think there’s always work to be done," Farmer said on Sunday. "As we look at where we’re going, we’re going to definitely look to address every position. We’re never done. We’re never content with where we are."
On Monday night, the Browns added veteran wide receiver Marlon Moore; the team earlier had waived offensive lineman Chris Faulk and kicker Jake Rogers. The Browns have made several additions since the quarterbacks and rookies reported last Wednesday in addition to the procedural moves involved with players who report with minor injuries or don’t pass the team’s pre-camp conditioning test.
The training camp roster size leaguewide is 90. Especially because the Browns have a new coaching staff and new systems, there’s likely to be plenty of turnover as the Browns proceed through the preseason.
"I think the great teams, they make transactions and they move on from guys and they improve and they get better in time," Farmer said. "If you go back and you watch some the teams that kind of attained success here recently, they had a lot of transactions on those football teams in a short period of time. It’s not an indictment on anything other than looking to get better, looking to incrementally get better."
Perhaps the most pressing piece of roster business involves the reported pending suspension of star receiver Josh Gordon — and the reported appeal set for later this week. If Gordon gets suspended that opens both a roster spot and a big hole when it comes to playmaking.
Just three days into camp it looks like the Browns may have found help in the relatively cheap and under the radar spring signings of veteran receivers Anthony Armstrong and Miles Austin. But in camp young receivers Travis Benjamin and Charles Johnson are at least a little limited while recovering from ACL surgeries last year, and Farmer is subscribing to the theoy that you never know when a quick fix could become a long-term find.
"I think I’m always looking to get better," Farmer said. "The movie is never over. Every day we come out here, every day we sit in there with the scouts, we’re looking to improve our roster. We’re just looking to drive the roster. We were talking on the field (recently) about guys that we’ve seen on the waiver wire, guys that we’ve seen come through, what our interest of them may or may not be, and how can we continue to get better."
The signing of Moore puts the Browns roster at 87 players. Included in that 87 is still-absent offensive lineman Jason Pinkston; a team statement Monday said Pinkston has not been cleared but offered no other details, citing privacy reasons.
Players placed on active PUP (physically unable to perform) and NFI (non-football injury lists), such as projected Browns starters Phil Taylor and John Greco, still count against the 90-man active roster limit, which will eventually be trimmed to 75 and then the regular-season size of 53.
Moore faces a one-game NFL personal conduct suspension if he makes the Browns roster. If he’s good enough to stick around, though, that gives the Browns additional flexibility in building the final 53 at the end of the preseason. He wouldn’t count until being activated after Week One.
The bottom line is that Moore has 43 games of experience and comes to a receiving corps that has more questions than answers. Johnson was signed off Green Bay’s practice squad last year, and only after he came to Cleveland was it discovered that he has a torn ACL. Austin was unsigned until the first word of a possible Gordon suspension leaked in May; Armstrong was looking for subsitute teaching jobs last fall but latched on with the Browns in part because of his history with Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
"We’re always looking to add," Farmer said. "Again for us, it’s about driving the competition and pushing the roster — always looking to incrementally getting better. If we can push the guys that are at the bottom end of the roster, if you will, to pushing those next guys, it will improve all of us."