Browns Expected to Sign Former 49ers QB Nick Mullens

Getty Images Jameis Winston with fellow quarterback Nick Mullens.

The Cleveland Browns are expected to sign former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens to the practice squad after the 53-man roster is set following Tuesday’s roster cut deadline.

Mullens was with the Eagles this offseason but was let go after the team traded for Gardner Minshew, who lost his role to No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville. The report that Mullens will land in Cleveland comes via Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network.

Mullens started 16 games with the 49ers from 2018 to 2020, notching a 87.2 career passer rating. He’s 2-6 as a starter with 2437 yards, 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Mullens had a tough preseason in Philadelphia, tossing a trio of interceptions and garnering a below-average PFF grade of 42.5. That being said, Mullens is only 25 and a solid option on the practice squad behind Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum. The Browns released third string quarterback Kyle Lauletta as part of their efforts to get the roster down to 53 and he’s not expected to be back with the club.

Lauletta looked sharp in his first preseason game, tossing two touchdowns and no interceptions, registering 212 yards on 19-of-27 passing. He regressed the rest of the way, tossing a pair of interceptions in his final preseason performance.

Browns Have Capable Backup in Case Keenum

GettyBrowns veteran QB Case Keenum.

The Browns are set at quarterback between Mayfield and his more-than-capable backup, Keenum. The Browns inked Keenum to a three-year, $18 million deal last offseason as an insurance policy in case anything happened to Mayfield.

Prior to playing for the Browns, Keenum was the starter for the Washington Redskins during the 2019-20 season. He passed for 1,707 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Keenum started 30 games over his previous two seasons before landing in Washington with the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings. In 2017, he went 11-3 with Minnesota, helping lead the team to the NFC championship game. Keenum’s best year in terms of yardage was in Denver two seasons ago, passing for 3,890 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 16 starts. Keenum also spent time in Houston and with the Rams.

The Browns have been very pleased with what Keenum has brought to the table as an established veteran.

“That’s a big part of playing that position, how you are in the huddle, that the guys believe in what you’re selling them and that you’re speaking to them clearly,” Stefanski told reporters following the Browns first preseason tilt. “I think there’s so much that goes into playing quarterback and Case has a bunch of games under his belt.”

KhaDarel Hodge, Johnny Stanton Among Players Let Go

The Browns are working hard to get their roster down to 53 players and a couple of tough casualties on the offensive side of the ball were wide KhaDarel Hodge and fullback/tight end Johnny Stanton.

Hodge had been a steady presence for the Browns at the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart the last two seasons, playing in 25 games. He has 15 catches for 256 yards over that span. Hodge also plays a role on special teams, playing 82 snaps last season. Hodge snagged two touchdown passes this preseason and made the Browns decision tough.

The Browns tried out Stanton at both fullback and tight end but could not find a place for him on the final roster. The Browns did keep FB Andy Janovich on the roster.

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