Updated 01:19 AM EST, Mon, Mar 01, 2021

Cleveland Browns Cut Phil Taylor, Trims Roster to 75

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In a surprising move on Tuesday, the Cleveland Browns terminated the contract of defensive lineman and 2011 first-round pick Phil Taylor.

Fox Sports reported that the Browns still paid Taylor a guaranteed $5.5 million upon his release. It also noted that the player had two surgeries done on his knee last year and when he came back, his participation in the team became limited.

He was not also reportedly not recovering well from his injuries so it becomes rather easy for the Browns to let him go aside from the fact that rookie Danny Shelton is also making a name on the team.

"Given the depth we had in that room, we knew we would have to make some difficult choices," coach Mike Pettine said in the Fox Sports report.

He added that the team knew that Taylor was recovering from his injuries but noted that they still made the right decision for the team.

"We were aware of where Phil was in his state of rehab and he was well on his way to being back, but given where he was and how we felt about the room, that we felt it was the right decision for all involved," Pettine explained.

The coach also noted in an Ohio.com report that this was one of the difficult decisions they had to make.

"Just given the depth that we had in that room, we knew we were going to have to make some difficult choices," he added.

Asked about the team paying Taylor a guaranteed amount, Pettine said they did not factor it in their decision.

"When we talk about the roster, the contractual stuff to me is a secondary thing. You want to say with the 75 we want to move and then to the 53, I don't think it's very prudent to let the contractual stuff, especially given where we are financial. I don't think you want that to be a factor in it," the coach noted.

According to ClevelandBrowns.com, the team's general manager Ray Farmer announced Taylor's contract termination along with the waiving of other players such as Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, Luke Lundy and Carey Spear.

"The Browns roster is currently at the NFL maximum of 75 players. Rosters must be reduced to 53 by Saturday at 4:00 pm," added the report on the team's website.

Since Spear's was also released by the team, Fox Sports said the Browns could give the "kicking job" to Travis Coons though there is still a possibility that they could sign a veteran to do the job.

Asked about the competition between Spear and Coons, Pettine said it was a close one.

"I thought both those guys handled themselves very well, very professionally. Carey did a really good job and I'll be surprised if he doesn't get a look elsewhere. There will be some interest in him, but Travis -- it was close -- was slightly better. I'll be curious to see how he responds to that," the coach added.

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