Shark Bites

Browns WR Odell Beckham is on track in his recovery from October's torn ACL, according to HC Kevin Stefanski. "He's progressing very well," Stefanski told reporters Tuesday. "He's trending in the right direction." It's standard offseason rhetoric -- but better than hearing about a setback. Beckham will be nearly 11 months removed from the injury when the 2021 season kicks off, so it's fair to expect him to be at least close to 100%. We'll continue to monitor his progress.

The Browns have agreed to a 1-year deal with DE Jadeveon Clowney, worth up to $10 million, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Clowney played in just 8 games in his lone season with the Titans, registering no sacks before landing on IR for meniscus surgery. Pro Football Focus credited him with a solid 28 total pressures, though. In Cleveland, Clowney should find a positive situation. He figures to line up opposite DE Myles Garrett along a talented D-line. Clowney's mere 3 total sacks in 2 years since leaving Houston should also keep his ADP down in IDP fantasy football leagues. Clowney looks like he'll be a low-risk, high-upside DL option come draft time. He's heading into just his age-28 season.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that LB Anthony Walker is signing a 1-year, $3.5 million deal with the Browns. That's not necessarily starter money, but Walker should compete for starter-level playing time in a shaky and unproven Cleveland LB corps. Walker was a solid player for the Colts, though he's coming off his worst overall Pro Football Focus grade through 4 seasons (by far). Walker also ceded the #2 LB role to Bobby Okereke in 2020. We'll see how the Browns' group shakes out.

The Browns re-signed K Cody Parkey. He took over as the starter in Week 2 last year and went on to convert 19 of 22 FG attempts and 43 of 47 XPs. Parkey should be a decent fantasy option in 2021 on an improving Cleveland offense.

The Browns are re-signing WR Rashard Higgins to a 1-year deal with $2.38 million guaranteed, according to ESPN's Jake Trotter. It's good for Higgins' outlook that he stays with the team and QB that know him, but the money involved doesn't necessarily point to him commanding a key role. We'll see how the WR corps settles out in Cleveland.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Browns will be signing S John Johnson. The former Ram finished 3 of the past 4 years among the top 11 safeties in Pro Football Focus grading. His signing likely means Cleveland doesn't view Ronnie Harrison as starter material for 2021. We'd bet they hope 2020 second-round pick Grant Delpit is ready to start next to Johnson. Delpit missed all of his rookie season with a torn Achilles' tendon, so we'll have to see about his readiness this summer. He and Johnson would make for a nice pair at the position, each with versatility to play multiple roles in the formation.

Browns TE David Njoku (hamstring) got in just 1 limited practice this week and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Chiefs. He shouldn't be in any fantasy lineups, but his absence would free up some opportunity for Cleveland's other pass-catchers. Njoku has averaged 3 targets per game over the past 5 weeks.

Browns WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (concussion) is active for tonight's game against the Steelers.

Browns DE Myles Garrett (shoulder), DT Sheldon Richardson (neck) and CB Terrance Mitchell (non-injury) are all active for tonight's game against the Steelers. Each entered the night questionable.

The Browns announced Saturday that CB Denzel Ward won't come off the COVID list in time to face the Steelers on Sunday. Slot CB Kevin Johnson will also remain on the list. That leaves Cleveland down at least 2 of its top 3 corners against pass-heavy Pittsburgh. And we're waiting to see whether CB Terrance Mitchell will play. He's questionable with a non-injury issue.

The Browns have activated S Ronnie Harrison, TE Harrison Bryant and LB Malcolm Smith from the COVID list. That makes all 3 available for Sunday's game against the Steelers. None figures to be a big fantasy factor. Harrison carries nice tackle upside for IDP lineups, though, against a pass-heavy Pittsburgh offense.

Browns DE Myles Garrett is questionable for Sunday's game against the Steelers with a shoulder injury he apparently sustained in Friday's practice. He turned up limited that day after being estimated as a full participant the previous 2 days. Cleveland, of course, didn't actually practice until Friday, so it's a tough situation to read. We'll see about his status on Sunday. Losing Garrett would obviously be a huge blow for an already lackluster defense and a team with big COVID issues for the playoff opener. DT Sheldon Richardson (neck) and CB Terrance Mitchell are also questionable. Mitchell's issue is not injury related, so it's not yet clear what puts his status in question. The Browns also don't yet know if CB Denzel Ward will be able to come off the COVID list in time for the game against Pittsburgh.

Browns WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (concussion) is listed as questionable for Sunday night's game vs. the Steelers. He was able to practice on Friday after missing the previous 2 days but still needs clearance to play this weekend. Cleveland is already expected to be without WR KhaDarel Hodge (COVID) vs. Pittsburgh.

Browns LG Joel Bitonio and WR KhaDarel Hodge have tested positive for COVID and are out for Sunday's Wild Card game vs. the Steelers. Bitonio, one of the best Gs in the league, is the big loss. Hodge's absence locks Donovan Peoples-Jones in as Cleveland's #3 WR for this one. HC Kevin Stefanski also has COVID and won't be available for the Steelers game. The Browns offense is in an extremely tough spot.

Browns DE Olivier Vernon suffered a ruptured Achilles' tendon in Sunday's win over the Steelers. He'll obviously miss the playoffs and face a challenging offseason rehab. It's particularly poor timing with Vernon set to hit free agency in March -- at age 30. We'll see what 2021 holds.

12:01pm EST 1/2/21

Browns CB Denzel Ward landed on the COVID list this week, and Cleveland.com reports that he tested positive. That means Ward will not only miss Sunday's game against the Steelers but might also not be back in time for a playoff opener next weekend. We'll see about his status for that contest next week.

Browns WRs Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge and Donovan Peoples-Jones have been activated from the COVID list. Barring a positive test, they'll all be back for Sunday's game vs. the Steelers.

The Browns have activated S Ronnie Harrison from IR. He missed the past 4 games with a shoulder injury. That follows closely behind the team placing safeties Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo on the COVID list. So expect Harrison to jump back into the starting lineup for this game. In his previous 3 games of full duty, Harrison posted 8, 10 and 6 tackles and broke up a pass in each. He also hit up the Colts for a pick-6 plus a 2nd pass defensed in the game before that span. He'll carry upside against the Mason Rudolph Steelers this week -- especially with LB B.J. Goodson also sidelined with COVID, raising the tackle upside.

Browns TE Harrison Bryant has been placed on the COVID list. We'll see if he's able to get cleared in time for Sunday's game vs. the Steelers. Bryant took on an expanded role last week with the Browns missing their top 4 WRs, catching 3 of 7 targets. But with those wideouts expected back for Week 17, Bryant is off the fantasy radar.

Browns WRs Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge are eligible to be activated from the COVID list on Thursday if they continue to test negative, HC Kevin Stefanski said. So all 4 guys should be back for Sunday's game vs. the Steelers. We'll continue to monitor the situation.

 
 
 

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