Browns Make ‘Puzzling’ Move, Release Veteran O-Lineman

Micahel Dunn, John Kelly Jr.

Getty Cleveland Browns running back John Kelly Jr.

With one day remaining to sort their initial 53-man roster, the Cleveland Browns made an interesting decision along the offensive line.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported on Monday, August 28, that the Browns waived backup offensive guard Michael Dunn.

“The #Browns are waiving OL Michael Dunn, per source,” Pelissero wrote. “He appeared in 28 games with four starts over the past three years.”

Browns podcaster Tyler Johnson went so far as to call the move “puzzling” in a post of his own Monday.

“Michael Dunn is the #Browns third guard. He starts if [Wyatt] Teller or [Joel] Bitonio can’t play. When called upon he’s been very solid, and he’s on a veteran minimum contract as well. I just don’t understand why [the Browns] are placing him on waivers,” Johnson wrote. “[General manager] Andrew Berry has done a great job this offseason, but this move is puzzling.”

Michael Dunn May Not Be Done with Browns Just Yet

Michael Dunn, Browns

GettyOffensive guard Michael Dunn, formerly of the Cleveland Browns, blocks during an NFL preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles in August 2023.

Not everything may be exactly what it seems based on chatter around the Browns’ decision to release Dunn, which essentially leaves the team without a viable backup offensive guard less than two weeks ahead of the regular season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“It’s worth noting that the team has not announced anything about terminating Dunn’s contract yet. There is speculation, though, that he will be utilized as one of those handshake deals to help the team out with IR moves,” according to an article from SB Nation’s Dawgs by Nature on Monday. “For example, Alex Wright might make the roster so that he can go on IR and after that happens, the team would simply re-sign Dunn. GM Andrew Berry has been creative at the roster deadline here, making it difficult to project the 53-man roster.”

The same article went on to mention that Dunn shouldn’t actually be subject to waivers, which would stop a rival team from swooping in and claiming his player rights.

Browns Boast One of NFL’s Best Offensive Lines

Wyatt Teller, Browns

GettyRight guard Wyatt Teller of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in November 2022.

It goes without saying that offensive line depth is crucial in the NFL, which affords Dunn his value, but the Browns boast arguably the best starting duo in the league at the position.

Teller has earned trips to the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons and was named a second-team All-Pro in 2021 and 2022. Bitonio has been even more impressive, earning five consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in five straight seasons — the last two of which were first-team selections.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) rated Bitonio the second-best offensive guard in the NFL last season out of 77 players who saw enough snaps to qualify at the position. Teller was ranked the 18th-best guard based on PFF’s advanced analytics.

Browns offensive lineman Ethan Pocic was also one of the best centers in the league in 2022, while the tackle position is a little thinner with the recently injury-plagued Jack Conklin starting on the right side and Jedrick Wills Jr. slotted in at left tackle.

Read More