Shark Bites

Browns GM John Dorsey admitted before Thursday night's preseason opener that he has no timetable for WR Josh Gordon's return to the team. Asked if he's still confident Gordon will be back soon, Dorsey gave a non-answer: "We’ll see when he gets there." Insider Mary Kay Cabot reported earlier this week that Gordon was "getting closer to returning," but Dorsey seems much less optimistic. Gordon becomes a riskier and riskier fantasy pick the longer he's away from the team. His recent ADP is still sitting in the early 5th round.

Browns WR Antonio Callaway was pulled over and cited for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license at 2:59 a.m. this past Sunday, according to ESPN's Tony Grossi. That'd be less than 24 hours before Cleveland traded away WR Corey Coleman. Callaway had a prime opportunity to capture the #3 WR gig but is now likely looking at a suspension -- especially considering his checkered past. His time at Florida included arrests for sexual assault and marijuana possession, plus a year-long suspension for his involvement in a credit card fraud scheme. Callaway also failed his drug test at the Combine. We'll see what the league decides here, but it's tough to use a draft pick on the rookie at this point. Rashard Higgins is next up on the Browns' depth chart if Callaway misses time.

Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot believes WR Antonio Callaway's "emergence" in training camp is part of the reason the team felt comfortable trading WR Corey Coleman to Buffalo. This isn't the first buzz we've heard on Callaway, who some scouts believe is 1 of the most talented WRs in this year's rookie class. He slipped into the 4th round of the draft due to a litany of off-field issues. Callaway actually ran ahead of Coleman as Cleveland's "X" receiver in camp on Friday, according to Cabot. That'll be Josh Gordon's spot when (if?) he returns. But Callaway at least looks in line to serve as the Browns' #3 WR this season, giving him some late-round flier appeal. And if Gordon remains away, Callaway could return a big profit.

Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot hears that WR Josh Gordon is "getting closer to returning" to the team. He's now missed about 2 weeks of camp as he continues to train and work on his mental health in Gainesville, Florida. Cabot's report adds that the Browns are "confident" that Gordon "will be back soon." There's still no concrete timetable here, though, and we're now about a month from the start of the season. Gordon remains a high-risk pick in fantasy drafts right now -- albeit one with plenty of upside. His ADP has dropped from 42nd overall pre-suspension to 50th overall since the start of August. That's still too rich for our tastes.

The Browns activated S Jabrill Peppers off the PUP list Monday after he passed his physical, according to Cleveland.com. Peppers missed the 1st 4 days of practice while dealing with a groin injury but should have plenty of time to settle back in as a starter. We'll see if Cleveland's usage of Peppers improves and helps him turn into a fantasy factor in his 2nd season.

Browns S Jabrill Peppers opened training camp on the PUP list because of a groin strain. it doesn't appear to be a serious injury, but Peppers might have to fend off Derrick Kindred for the strong safety spot. Missed time won't help that pursuit. We'll see how long he remains out.

Browns WR Antonio Callaway is back on the field after missing most of the spring with a groin injury. And he's been impressing. Callaway "tore up the defensive backs in 1-on-1 drills" on Thursday, according to insider Mary Kay Cabot. He "looked fast and healthy." Callaway lasted into the 4th round of this year's draft due largely to character concerns. Some had him pegged as a 2nd-round talent. Cabot believes the rookie could push Corey Coleman for his spot on the depth chart. That battle becomes more and more interesting the longer Josh Gordon is away from the team.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Browns WR Josh Gordon is staying away from training camp right now as he deals with "mental health and anxiety" issues. He's reportedly struggled with anxiety for a while and previously turned to drugs and alcohol to help cope. Schefter hears that the Browns do expect Gordon to report, but that there's no exact timetable for that to happen. Already a risky fantasy pick at his 4th-round ADP, Gordon should be hands-off at that price tag right now.

Browns WR Josh Gordon announced on Monday that he'll miss the start of training camp as "part of [his] overall health and treatment plan." Gordon, of course, has long battled substance-abuse issues. He added, "I am not only doing great physically but mentally as well ... I am excited to start the season and I have every intention of being ready and available to join my teammates soon to help bring winning football to our fans." Gordon didn't reveal when he'll report to the team, though. This will obviously be a situation to monitor closely. And it's a reminder that Gordon carries tons of risk at his 4th-round ADP.

Browns WR Antonio Callaway missed 7 of 12 offseason practices with a groin injury, per beat writer Nate Ulrich. He should be back at full health by the time Cleveland opens up training camp on July 26. The rookie will spend camp battling Corey Coleman for the #3 role behind Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry. Callaway will be given a chance to earn return duties, too.

The Browns agreed to a 3-year, $15.6 million extension ($7.7 million guaranteed) with RB Duke Johnson on Thursday, NFL Network reports. Johnson already looked likely to hang on to his significant offensive role, and this extension only solidifies that standing. It's especially important given the additions of Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb to the Cleveland backfield this offseason. Johnson is a nice value in current PPR drafting.

LB Mychal Kendricks vehemently denied early reports of him joining the Browns, but then he signed with them Sunday after all. Yahoo! and ESPN each reported a 1-year deal worth up to $3.5 million. The Yahoo! report said Kendricks would start immediately, but we're not ready to buy that. OLBs Christian Kirksey and Jamie Collins each own large salaries and will clearly remain in the lineup. MLB Joe Schobert went to the Pro Bowl in his 1st starting turn and ranked a respectable 32nd (among 87 qualifiers) in Pro Football Focus' off-ball LB grading. The deal does suggest that Kendricks is likely to take on a significant role. We'll see exactly how things shake out. For now, we're knocking Schobert down the LB rankings.

The Eagles on Tuesday released OLB Mychal Kendricks, after several years of trade/cut rumors spanning 2 coaching staffs. The 27-year-old (until late September) figures to quickly get a shot somewhere else. Kendricks is a top-shelf athlete among LBs and has produced across categories when playing full-time snaps. His departure opens the lead weak-side role, though we'll see if that means more snaps for his replacement. One potential replacement, veteran Paul Worrilow, suffered an ACL tear in Tuesday's on-field workout and will miss the season.

Browns HC Hue Jackson said Friday that he's giving OC Todd Haley "total autonomy" of the offense. He's "one of the best in the business," Jackson added of Haley. Consider this good news for all of Cleveland's skill-position guys. The Browns have ranked 31st and 32nd in points scored under Jackson the past 2 seasons. Haley arrives with 11 years of experience as a HC or OC. Eight of his squads have finished in the top half of the league in total points, including 6 top-10 finishes.

The Browns selected Florida WR Antonio Callaway in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Callaway would have come off the board much earlier if not for off-field issues, including arrests for sexual assault and marijuana possession. He was also suspended for the entire 2017 campaign for his involvement in a credit card fraud scheme and then failed his drug test at the Combine. When on the field at Florida, Callaway averaged 15.7 yards per catch and scored 3 return TDs. The 5’11, 200-pounder registered a 44th percentile SPARQ score in the pre-draft process. If he can stay out of trouble, Callaway has a shot to make a significant impact as a pro. He joins a crowded WR corps in Cleveland, though, that also includes Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry and Corey Coleman.

The Browns used the 35th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on Georgia RB Nick Chubb. Chubb busted out as a true freshman back in 2014, racking up 1,547 yards and 14 TDs on 7.1 yards per carry. His 2015 was cut short in October by a catastrophic left knee injury: a torn PCL, MCL and LCL, plus cartilage damage and a dislocation. Chubb returned for 2016 but didn’t look like the same player, posting a career-low 5.0 yards per carry. He bounced back nicely this past year, carrying 223 times for 1,345 yards (6.0 YPC) and 15 TDs. Chubb proved that the knee injury is behind him by registering an 83rd percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. When healthy, this guy is as good a runner as any RB in the class. He’s mostly unproven in the passing game, though, totaling just 31 catches across 4 college seasons. Chubb won’t be doing much pass-catching in Cleveland with Duke Johnson in the same backfield. But the rookie has a good shot to beat out Carlos Hyde for lead ball-carrying duties. That’ll be a situation to monitor throughout the summer.

The Browns selected Ohio State CB Denzel Ward 4th in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. It's likely not a terribly impactful move for IDP owners. Cleveland doesn't currently sport a strong cover corner to drive targets at Ward. He's likely to start as a rookie, though. Ward grabbed just 2 career INTs in college but defensed 24 passes over the past 2 years in a defense that doesn't highlight going for picks at corner.

The Browns selected Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield with the 1st pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. It’s a new, smarter day in the Cleveland front office! Our top-ranked QB in the class, Mayfield turned in a sparkling college career. He walked on at Texas Tech in 2013 and beat out heralded recruit Davis Webb for the Week 1 starting job. After transferring to Oklahoma and sitting out 2014, Mayfield went on to complete 69.8% of his passes with 119 TDs vs. 21 INTs over the next 3 seasons. He added another 895 yards and 19 scores on the ground. Mayfield led the Sooners to a 34-6 record and won the 2017 Heisman. Mayfield haters point out his less-than-ideal height (6’1) and cocky attitude. But the guy is ultra-accurate, boasts plenty of arm strength, is crafty inside the pocket and slippery outside of it. He has all the makings of a successful — and potentially superstar — NFL QB. Mayfield joins Tyrod Taylor in Cleveland’s QB room. The veteran might be the favorite for the Week 1 nod, but Mayfield is a strong bet to make a good number of starts this season. The last 10 QBs to go #1 overall have averaged 10.9 starts as rookies. Six of the 10 made double-digit starts, and only JaMarcus Russell made fewer than 7. Whenever Mayfield gets on the field, he’ll be working behind a solid offensive line and with a nice group of pass-catchers in Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, Corey Coleman, David Njoku and Duke Johnson.

The Browns and WR Jarvis Landry have agreed to a 5-year, $75.5 million extension with $47 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That $15.1 million per year makes Landry the league's 5th highest paid WR in terms of average annual salary. It's a massive commitment to a guy the Dolphins clearly didn't value nearly as much. Landry is still unlikely to see the 142.5 targets per season he averaged in Miami, though. He's a bit overvalued at his current ADP on WR20 in early best-ball drafts.

New Browns RB Carlos Hyde revealed that he played last season around 228 pounds — down 7 pounds from his listed weight. “That’s the lightest I’ve been," Hyde said. “I went into the season feeling the best I’ve ever felt.” Following a new diet, the 27-year-old managed to play 16 games for the 1st time. That produced a career-high 240 carries. HC Hue Jackson has already said that he'll give the former 49er “every opportunity to run the ball.”

 
 
 

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