At 2-2 and atop the AFC North, the Cleveland Browns seem to finally be hitting their stride following a big win against the Ravens on Sunday.
But one familiar face that has been left out of the mix during the first quarter of the season is defensive end Genard Avery.
Avery played just two snaps in the Browns loss to the Rams and that has been the extent of his action this season. He’s been a healthy scratch in the other three games, a somewhat bizarre situation considering his production a season ago.
Avery played all 16 in 2018, starting five. He made 40 total tackles, notching five tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He also forced fumble and was credited with 14 quarterback hits and four passes defended.
Avery posted a cryptic tweet on Tuesday, signaling that a move might be on the way.
Genard Avery Unable to Break Into Cleveland’s Game Day Roster
The Browns are loaded on the defensive line, particularly at pass-rusher with Pro Bowlers Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon. Behind them are Chad Thomas and Chris Smith, who both saw 20-plus reps in last week’s game against the Ravens.
“There are a lot of factors with that,” head coach Freddie Kitchens said after Avery was inactive for Week 1. “You have to start factoring in offense and defense when you start activating people because of people being banged up in certain areas or whatever.”
The Browns are in their first-year under defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, so it might be that Thomas and Smith are better fits for his scheme, which features Avery exclusively on the defensive line rather than a hybrid linebacker/edge rusher.
“I do not know if it is anything that he has to do per se like you push a button and he is out there. It is a week-to-week performance with all the guys and who we feel needs to be up in the 46,” Wilks told Cleveland.com’s Scott Patsko. “It is just the process of what we need that day based off what the offense is presenting.”
Avery was a fifth-round pick of the Browns in 2018. He played his college ball at Memphis, where he ranks third in school history in sacks (21.5) and second in tackles for loss (45.5).
Browns in Trade Talks for Offensive Lineman: Report
Before Sunday’s game against the Ravens, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported that the Browns have talked to a number of teams about trading for an offensive lineman.
The Browns have been banged up on the O-line, with starting right tackle Chris Hubbard playing through a foot injury and backup Kendall Lamm dealing with a knee problem. The team already made moves this season for backup lineman Wyatt Teller and Justin McCray, who were seen as possible replacements at guard if things went south with starter Eric Kush. McCray has shown versatility, filling in at right tackle on a few occasions this season.
If the Browns are thinking about a trade, Avery is a piece they could decide to move. He has a proven resume that shows he can produce at the NFL level, and it will be mutually beneficial if he’s able to get on the field with another squad.