The Browns made a flurry of roster moves this morning as the Browns cut their roster in advance of tomorrow's deadline to get down to 65 players.
The most critical moves came on the defensive side of the ball, as Brant Boyer was placed on Injured Reserve, a move that means that he will not be able to play for the Browns in 2004. The Browns hoped that Boyer would be a critical element of their linebacking corps and special teams, and signed him to a four-year contract extension before the season began.
The Browns also placed second-round draft pick Sean Jones (safety) on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Putting Jones on the PUP rather than the IR allows the Browns to return him to the team between week six and week eight of the season, at which point the club will have three weeks to determine whether or not to spend a roster spot on him.
Joining Boyer on the IR, and therefore lost for the season, are Chad Beasley (OL), Ben Miller (FB), and Michael Grant (DB). Beasley entered Training Camp as the team's initial starter at left guard, but has seen his stock plummet in recent weeks, particularly after last Saturday's performance against Kansas City. Miller was eligible to play with the Browns this year after serving out his time with the Air Force, and Grant was a rookie free agent who performed well in Training Camp.
Also going onto the PUP list are tight end Keith Heinrich and defensive tackle Antonio Garay. Both would have been in competition for reserve roles in 2004, but were injured during the off-season and, like Sean Jones, will be evaluated to see if they can return after the sixth week of the season. Running back and seventh-round draft choice Adimchinobe Echemandu is given a similar designation (Reserve Non-Football Injury List) which will allow the team to evaluate his progress later this year.
The Browns also waived three players out-right, giving them their release from the club.
Josh Buhl, a linebacker who led the NCAA in tackles last season at Kansas State, was released today. Buhl was considered an intriguing player who might have lacked the size to play linebacker in the NFL. Many draft pundits felt that he would be better suited to play at safety, but the Browns never gave him an opportunity to learn the position.
Derrick Frost's outstanding performance in the pre-season was also recognized, as the team ended the punting competition by waiving P Ryan Dutton. Frost's emergence as the top punter has been little in doubt since the first week of the pre-season. Finally, the Browns waived QB Nate Hybl, an unsurprising move given his sub-par performance in NFL Europe and his lack of opportunity this Summer. Hybl was, at several points in 2003, an injury away from being the Browns quarterback, as the third quarterback behind Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb.