The Cleveland Browns entered the 2022 offseason with question marks at the wide receiver position. They brought in Amari Cooper, Jakeem Grant and David Bell to help address the issue. One trade, one free agent and one draft pick still didn’t seem to fully answer the concern.
Releasing Jarvis Landry (and TE Austin Hooper for that matter) made sense but also took away options for the team.
As rookies and quarterbacks reported for camp, Bell was placed on the physically unable to perform list. While the issue isn’t considered severe, the rookie will miss time in his first camp.
On day two of training camp, Anthony Schwartz went down with a non-contact injury to his knee. While the extent of the injury is unknown at this time, losing Schwartz would shine a spotlight on the depth concerns at the position.
Even veteran Javon Wims started camp on the illness list.
If the season started today (thankfully it doesn’t), Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones would take their expected places as the team’s top receivers. Grant, primarily a return who has only caught 100 passes in his seven-year career, would get the nod as the slot receiver.
From our initial 53-man roster projection, those are the only three receivers currently healthy.
Demetric Felton, who continues to be listed as a running back but practices as a receiver, would be fourth on the depth chart as of today. After that, Ja’Marcus Bradley and a slew of rookies (Michael Woods II, Isiah Weston, Mike Harley Jr. and Travell Harris) would be in the rotation.
While Grant and Felton might be exciting gadget players, the injuries to Bell and Schwartz show just how quickly Cleveland’s receiver depth can be impacted. With no one brought in to replace Hooper, the team doesn’t have the depth at tight end to help out if needed either.
Hopefully Schwartz’s injury turns out to be minor and Bell is able to return quickly. Otherwise, the Browns might be hunting for help at the receiver position once again. Maybe Odell Beckham Jr. really could return (despite his Super Bowl injury that will keep him out most of the season).
Thankfully the injuries have come early in camp and, hopefully, the team has very few the rest of the way.