Amidst all the craziness with the Cavaliers and the Kyrie Irving trade, the Cleveland Browns made some news of their own on Tuesday by releasing veteran defensive lineman Desmond Bryant and signing defensive lineman Brandon Thompson. Though, this news was less surprising than the Irving trade, the writing was on the wall for the once prized free agent signing.
Bryant was signed as one of the team’s big free agent signings in 2013. His career in Cleveland was full of injuries, causing him to never be able to play a full 16-game season for the Browns. In 2016, Bryant missed the entire season with a torn pectoral muscle. Coming into this season, it was a little in doubt to whether he could return to form where he could compete for a starting spot, let alone a spot on the defensive line.
It did not take long, though, to see that Bryant was not playing well enough in the coaches’ eyes. In Monday’s nights game against the New York Giants, Bryant was surpassed by former undrafted free agent Trevon Coley on the depth chart. Coley earned the start, while Bryant only played deep in the game, which was a sign of possible things to come. He will end his four-year career with the Browns having started 41 games and notching 60 tackles and 14.5 sacks.
Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown issued this statement about the release of Bryant:
“We’d like to thank Des for all his contributions to the Cleveland Browns in his time with our organization. He proved to be a leader and tone setter along our defensive front and we wish him well.”
The Browns signed former Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Brandon Thompson after releasing Bryant. Thompson was drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Bengals. In his career with Cincinnati, he played in 39 games, with seven starts, notching 53 tackles and three sacks. He was sort of in the same boat as Bryant coming into the 2017 season. The former Bengal missed the entire 2016 season with an ACL injury. The Bengals decided to cut ties with Thompson two days ago, allowing the Browns to swoop in and pick up the defensive lineman.