Browns Add Former Tom Brady Target to WR Corps After Injury

Jaelon Darden

Getty Images Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Jaelon Darden.

The Cleveland Browns added former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Jaelon Darden to the roster on Wednesday, claiming him off waivers after he was released earlier in the week.

Darden was a fourth-round pick of the Bucs in 2021 but didn’t last long in Tampa Bay. He has appeared in 21 games, recording eight receptions for 69 yards. He has also returned 50 punts for a 9.4 average and 21 kickoffs for a 20.3 average.

The Browns made the move after placing Anthony Schwartz on injured reserve with a concussion. Schwartz suffered the injury in the win against the Texans on Sunday.

Schwartz has largely been a disappointment during his Browns tenure. He was a third-round pick in 2021 and the Browns thought he’d be able to make an impact with his world-class speed. However, he’s failed to make an impact in Cleveland and it looks like his season will end early.

Schwartz appeared in 10 games this season and recorded four receptions for 51 yards. He added four rushing attempts for 57 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown. He had one catch against the Texans but fumbled the ball away.

Darden Could Play Role in Return Game

The Browns thought they had solved their return game issues when they signed Jakeem Grant this offseason. However, the Pro Bowl return man suffered a season-ending injury prior to the start of the regular season, leaving the Browns scrambling for a solution.

Donovan Peoples-Jones has returned punts but it’s less than ideal with him occupying the No. 2 wide receiver spot on the depth chart behind Amari Cooper. He hadn’t had much success until Sunday when he took a punt back 76 yards for a score.

“It was something we have been talking about kind of the whole week,” Peoples-Jones said. “That was the plan to go to the right side of the field, and everybody in the meeting room from the beginning of the week locked in on what the goal was. We went to the game, and we executed that goal.”

Browns Also Add LB Reggie Ragland

The Browns also filled another hole due to injury with the addition of linebacker Reggie Ragland, signing off the Raiders’ practice squad. The Browns lost linebacker Sione Takitaki to a season-ending knee injury on Sunday. He was the third starting middle linebacker to go down for Cleveland this year, joining Anthony Walker Jr. and Jacob Phillips.

Takitaki was second on the team with 69 tackles and had picked up his play in recent weeks with more opportunities coming his way.

Ragland played all 17 games for the Giants last year with nine starts. He recorded 67 total tackles with a pair of tackles for loss and a pair of passes defended.

“He is spending a lot of extra time with (linebackers) coach (Jason) Tarver and (run game coordinator) coach (Ben) Bloom to get up to speed with what we are doing defensively,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We will see how far along he comes this week.”

The Browns face a must-win situation this weekend against the Bengals on the road. If they’re able to notch the victory, it’ll keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

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