The Cleveland Browns were proactive on the waiver wire after cutting their roster down to 53 players. In light of the new acquisitions, backup quarterback Rex Grossman has been released not long after signing with the team.
Grossman played in the Browns' preseason finale against the Chicago Bears, completing 4 of 8 passes for 80 yards. Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan weighed in on one particularly strong strike Grossman completed in the game:
Rex Grossman's 1st pass a 37-yard completion to Willie Snead; might have been the best throw we've seen this preseason from a QB— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) August 29, 2014
Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine praised Grossman after he was initially retained as the No. 3 QB.
"Rex is a veteran, he's played in this system, he's good for the guys in the (quarterback) room, and he also showed that he can still throw it," said Pettine, per The Associated Press' Tom Withers. "And that's the most important thing. He can still play."
NFL Network's Jeff Darlington added his input on Grossman's release:
The Browns didn't cut Rex Grossman. Rex Grossman cut the Browns.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) August 31, 2014
At least Cleveland attempted to address the glaring issue of its receiving corps to justify letting a savvy, Shanahan-literate veteran in Grossman go. Former Dallas Cowboys receiver LaRon Byrd was claimed off waivers Sunday, along with three other players, per Alper's report.
Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com weighed in on Byrd:
The average size of #Browns WRs on the roster is 5-10 so adding 6-4, 220 LaRon Byrd makes sense. Has 4.4 speed w/ VG toughness as a blocker— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) August 31, 2014
Why the Browns opted to bring Grossman in so late and then cut him not long thereafter is a bit perplexing, though.
Grossman has experience playing in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's offense from their days together in Washington and Houston. This is yet another coaching staff transition for the Browns, who have two inexperienced signal-callers in Brian Hoyer and rookie Johnny Manziel remaining on the depth chart.
Who is the Browns' long-term answer at QB?
Part of the abject failure the Browns have experienced at football's most important position is a failure to develop their players. The franchise has lost 10 or more games for six straight seasons. With an eye toward competing now, Hoyer could have used all the help Grossman would offer in trying to solidify himself as a viable starter.
As for the electrifying, hopeful face of the future in Manziel, he has struggled to adapt to Shanahan's complex playbook, which Grossman could have continued to help him with.
It's not as though Grossman is a high-impact NFL player, but his mentoring potential and the timing of his arrival and departure only stoke the fire of criticism perpetually surrounding the Browns' quarterback position.