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Cleveland Browns unveil initial 53-man roster: 5 tight ends make it, Chad Thomas gets cut

The team is expected to still search the waiver wire for more talent.
Credit: AP
Cleveland Browns defensive end Chad Thomas (92) walks off the field after an NFL football preseason game agains the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Cleveland. Buffalo won 19-17. (AP Photo/David Richard)

BEREA, Ohio — The Browns have set their 53-man roster, at least for now.

The team announced it had waived 24 players prior to the NFL's final cut-down deadline of 4 p.m. Saturday, including several who had somewhat significant roles with the club in the past. Perhaps the most notable cut was defensive end Chad Thomas, a 2018 third-round pick who tallied four sacks last season.

The Browns will carry just two quarterbacks, as 2019 backup Garrett Gilbert was released along with undrafted free agent rookie Kevin Davidson. Wide receiver Damion Ratley, who caught 25 passes over the previous two years, also failed to make the squad.

"We always take and evaluate all the training camp practices, evaluate every snap, every rep and really try and get as good of a feel for our guys as we can," general manager Andrew Berry said. "We worked closely with our coaches and solicited their feedback as well as from our pro staff and our scouts. We really spent a lot of time on our roster."

Credit: Charles LeClaire
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Damion Ratley (18) runs after a catch against Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (23) and strong safety Terrell Edmunds (34) during the first quarter at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Also notable was the club's decision to carry five tight ends, with 2019 John Mackey Award winner Harrison Bryant joining established veterans Austin Hooper and David Njoku while Pharaoh Brown and Stephen Carlson also survived. The move appears to be a nod to new head coach Kevin Stefanski, who has shown a preference for utilizing multiple tight ends in his offensive schemes. However, rumors have also been buzzing on social media about Njoku's future with the team.

'I'M ALL IN': Browns tight end David Njoku rescinds request for trade

"We share a vision of how this team is going to play, but also, we went into this process very open-minded and wanting to keep the best 53 players," Stefanski said. "We didn't have any hard, fast rules of how many we were keeping at any given position. The way the roster shook out is based on the performance of those players."

The final makeup of the roster as the Browns approach opening day on Sept. 13 is expected to remain fluid, with the team almost certainly exploring its options on the waiver wire. For the moment, here's how the team stacks up at each position:

QUARTERBACK (2)

  • Case Keenum
  • Baker Mayfield

RUNNING BACK (3)

  • Nick Chubb
  • Kareem Hunt
  • D’Ernest Johnson

FULLBACK (1)

  • Andy Janovich

WIDE RECEIVER (6)

  • Odell Beckham Jr.
  • Rashard Higgins
  • KhaDarel Hodge
  • Jarvis Landry
  • JoJo Natson
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones

TIGHT END (5)

  • Pharaoh Brown
  • Harrison Bryant
  • Stephen Carlson
  • Austin Hooper
  • David Njoku

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

  • Joel Bitonio
  • Evan Brown
  • Jack Conklin
  • Nick Harris
  • Chris Hubbard
  • Kendall Lamm
  • Wyatt Teller
  • JC Tretter
  • Jedrick Wills Jr.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8)

  • Eli Ankou
  • Adrian Clayborn
  • Jordan Elliott
  • Myles Garrett
  • Porter Gustin
  • Larry Ogunjobi
  • Sheldon Richardson
  • Olivier Vernon

LINEBACKER (6)

  • Tae Davis
  • B.J. Goodson
  • Jacob Phillips
  • Malcolm Smith
  • Sione Takitaki
  • Mack Wilson

DEFENSIVE BACK (10)

  • Ronnie Harrison
  • Kevin Johnson
  • Karl Joseph
  • Terrance Mitchell
  • Sheldrick Redwine
  • Andrew Sendejo
  • M.J. Stewart Jr.
  • Tavierre Thomas
  • Denzel Ward
  • Greedy Williams

SPECIAL TEAMS (3)

  • Jamie Gillan
  • Charley Hughlett
  • Austin Seibert

In addition, the following players were waived on Saturday:

  • QB Kevin Davidson
  • QB Garrett Gilbert
  • RB Dontrell Hilliard
  • RB Benny LeMay
  • FB Johnny Stanton
  • WR Ja’Marcus Bradley
  • WR Damion Ratley
  • WR Taywan Taylor
  • T Brady Aiello
  • T Alex Taylor (injured)
  • C Jon Toth
  • G Michael Dunn
  • G Willie Wright
  • DE Robert McCray
  • DE Chad Thomas
  • DT Daniel Ekuale
  • LB Solomon Ajayi
  • LB Willie Harvey
  • LB Montrel Meander
  • CB A.J. Green
  • CB Robert Jackson
  • CB Donovan Olumba
  • S Elijah Benton
  • S Javonte Moffatt

See how the Browns' final roster stacked up against 3News' Ben Axelrod's predictions.