The Browns sacrifice cap space to keep John Greco…at the expense of Cameron Erving
Saturday, Greco returned to team drills after missing the last four games of last season, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. Since coming to Cleveland in 2011, the 32-year-old lineman has been a solid starter.
However, the signings of Kevin Zeitler and J.C. Tretter have left Greco without a starting job. The writers at Rotoworld have mentioned multiple times this offseason Greco could be a cap casualty, since the Browns can save $3.1 million by releasing him.
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The Browns have already made many cap casualty moves – Gary Barnidge and Tramon Williams to name two recently. However, Greco’s steady, consistent play, along with his versatility to play all three interior offensive line spots, may save his job.
On the flip side, Erving is the opposite of Greco since entering the NFL in 2015. The former first-rounder moved across the offensive line, struggling at every position. He is currently working at right tackle in a competition with Shon Coleman to fill out the offensive line.
On Saturday, the Browns’ Twitter account posted a video of offensive line drills. Erving, lined up at left tackle and let Cam Johnson run right past him in the clip. It is only a five-second snippet, but wow, it does not look like many things have changed.
Last year, according to Dawgs By Nature, the Browns kept eight offensive linemen on their original 53-man roster. The starters were Erving, Greco, Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, and Austin Pasztor. The three reserve linemen were Coleman, Spencer Drango, and Alvin Bailey.
Versatility and youth were the common theme amongst the reserves. Drango and Bailey could play both inside and outside, and Coleman along with Drango were rookies.
This year, the five starters will likely be Thomas, Bitonio, Tretter, Zeitler and Coleman. Looking back to last year, coach Jackson and his staff could choose to follow the same pattern. Drango and Greco both provide versatility, while Roderick Johnson is a rookie.
That leaves Erving on the outside looking in, due to his inconsistent play and failure to show significant improvement since his debut in the league.