Kyle Lauletta, Browns Agree to Contract amid COVID-19 Issues

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 17, 2021

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 22: Cleveland Browns quarterback Kyle Lauletta (17) looks to pass during the second quarter of the National Football League preseason game between the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns on August 22, 2021, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns have reportedly signed Kyle Lauletta off the Jacksonville Jaguars' practice squad to serve as their backup quarterback for Saturday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders because of expected COVID-19 absences, including starter Baker Mayfield.

Lauletta's agent, Mike McCarthy, confirmed the signing.

Zac Jackson of The Athletic reported Friday the Browns are signing both Lauletta and free-agent quarterback Jake Dolegala, who will serve as the No. 3 emergency QB.

Nick Mullens, who's in line to start against the Raiders, was the only active signal-caller on the roster with both Mayfield and Case Keenum on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Lauletta spent the second half of the 2020 season on the Browns' practice squad. He signed a reserve/futures contract with the organization in January but was released following this year's preseason. He joined the Jags' practice squad a few days later.

The 26-year-old University of Richmond product has only appeared in two regular-season games since the New York Giants selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft. He failed to complete any of his five throws in those relief appearances for the G-Men that year.

Lauletta enjoyed a solid college career with the Spiders. He compiled 85 total touchdowns (73 passing and 12 rushing) and 35 interceptions across 40 appearances.

His knowledge of the Browns offense should allow him to handle the unit if forced to play in a pinch against the Raiders.

Dolegala has bounced around the NFL since going undrafted out of Central Connecticut in 2019. Cleveland will be his fifth team after time with the Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins.

The 6'7" New York native has never attempted a regular-season pass.

Cleveland's COVID-19 issues are occurring as the team attempts to make a late surge into the playoffs.

The Browns sit eighth in the AFC standings with a 7-6 record. The top seven teams in each conference qualify for the postseason. The Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills, who are also 7-6, currently hold the last two spots based on tiebreakers.

How long the COVID outbreak continues to impact the team will be a major factor in their playoff hopes as it faces a difficult schedule down the stretch. After facing the Raiders (6-7), it takes on the Green Bay Packers (10-3), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1) and Cincinnati Bengals (7-6).