Browns Waive Defensive Tackle to Make Room for Rashard Higgins

Getty Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski.

The Cleveland Browns have waived defensive tackle Brandin Bryant, making room for re-signed wide receiver Rashard Higgins on the roster.

The signing of Higgins, which was reported at the end of April, was officially announced on Friday.

Higgins is one of the longest-tenured players on the Browns roster and has appeared in 54 games, making six starts, over the past four seasons. He had a big year in 2018, emerging with 39 receptions for 572 yards and four touchdowns.

However, last season went downhill in a hurry. Higgins was injured in the team’s opener, missing multiple weeks with an MCL sprain. He was never able to get on track after that, finding himself in Kitchen’s doghouse after some comments to media members on why he wasn’t active in Week 5. Higgins managed just four catches for 55 yards and one touchdown all of last year.

Higgins was an unrestricted free agent, but didn’t draw a tremendous amount of interest on the open market. His deal with the Browns was for the veteran’s minimum of $910,000. However, Mary Kay Cabot of reported that Higgins turned down more money elsewhere to return to the Browns to play alongside Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.

Browns Still Have Depth After Brandin Bryant Release

Bryant wasn’t a huge producer for the Browns, bouncing up and down from practice squads around the league before finding a home in Cleveland. He played in four games last year with the defensive line depth chart ravaged by injury, recording three total tackles.

The Browns beefed up the defensive tackle spot this offseason, signing veteran Andrew Billings and drafting Jordan Elliott in the third round to play behind starters Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson.

Billings had started all but two games the last two seasons for the Bengals. Last season he collected 35 tackles and one sack. Billings deal is for one-year, $3.5 million, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.

Here’s how broke down Elliott pre-draft:

“Skilled hand-fighter with explosive upper body strength to stack, read and react in an odd or even front. Elliott has experience in a variety of alignments, allowing teams to move him up and down the line depending on matchups. He’s more consistent controlling gaps than shooting them and has moments when the motor cools and he doesn’t finish. He was highly respected by opposing teams and faced additional help as a pass rusher.”

Browns Will Run 4-3 Defense

During his introductory press conference, new Browns defensive coordinator said the team will run a 4-3, which needs some beef at the tackle positions.

“I think you want to make sure that you’re putting the guys that you have in the right position to make plays,” Woods said. “I know the personnel here is tailored toward a 4-3 scheme, which I’m very comfortable with. We’ll stay with the 4-3 system here and focus on putting the guys in the right positions to make plays.”

The Browns will rely on Myles Garrett at one end and veteran Olivier Vernon on the other. The Browns played the final stretch of the season without either, as Vernon hobbled to the finish line with an injured knee and Garrett was suspended indefinitely for bashing Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his helmet.

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