The Cleveland Browns' defense will be shorthanded when they host the Chicago Bears in Week 15. It was revealed on Wednesday that safety Grant Delpit was heading to the injured reserve with a groin injury just days after signing a three-year, $36 million extension with the franchise.
IR stints require a player to miss at least four games, meaning Delpit will be out for the remainder of the 2023 NFL regular season. But what are the chances of his being able to suit up if the Browns make the playoffs?
Cleveland fans shouldn't hold their breath if head coach Kevin Stefanski's latest words are anything to judge.
Browns News: Grant Delpit Injury Update
Stefanski told the media on Wednesday that Delpit successfully underwent surgery and could "potentially" be back in time for the playoffs.
While defenses don't necessarily live or die by one player, missing Delpit — whether it's just for the rest of the regular season or into the playoffs — will hurt Cleveland's defense. He's been a big reason why the Browns are allowing an NFL-low 159.7 passing yards per game.
The former LSU Tiger joined the Browns when he was drafted 44th overall in 2020. After spending most of his rookie season in a backup role, Delpit forced his way into a starting job last season, racking up 105 tackles (72 solo), 10 broken-up passes, and four interceptions in 17 games.
Although his numbers aren't as high this season, Delpit has still set career highs with seven tackles for lost yardage, four quarterback hits, and 1.5 sacks. Furthermore, he's Pro Football Focus' 31st-ranked safety out of 92 qualified players and leads all Browns defensive backs with a 75.5 coverage grade.
In the meantime, D'Anthony Bell will likely fill in for Delpit, much like he has whenever the latter misses time. Bell played well against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14, matching his personal best of three solo tackles while playing a season-high 48 snaps (23 defense, 25 special teams).
Furthermore, Cleveland announced that S Duron Harmon has been promoted to the active roster following Delpit's injury news. Harmon is an 11-year veteran who's set to play with his sixth team after already suiting up in three games with the Bears earlier this season.
While FanDuel Sportsbook is still favoring the Browns to beat the Bears this Sunday, it's worth noting that the spread has dropped from -3.5 to -3 for Cleveland following Wednesday's injury-filled news updates.
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