Browns Release OL Joe Haeg to Make Room for New Receiver

Kevin Stefanski


Head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns have signed a new wide receiver — it’s just not the name most were hoping for.

The Browns are in the mix for DeAndre Hopkins but that pursuit is still ongoing. Instead, Cleveland announced on Monday that they had signed Ra’Shaun Henry — a 6-foot-3, 190-lbs receiver out of Virginia who has never played an NFL snap.

Henry spent time with the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers last season, spending time on the practice squad. Henry didn’t put up big numbers in college but has shown enough potential to stick around some NFL facilities. He caught just 41 passes in his two years at Virginia, totaling 809 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Browns also inked offensive tackle Hunter Thedford to a deal. Initially signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2021, Thedford has spent time on the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos practice squads the past two seasons.

To make room for the signings, the Browns released veteran tackle Joe Haeg, who was expected to play a depth role on the offensive line.

He started 35 games with the Colts before moving on to the Buccaneers for a year, winning a Super Bowl ring. He most recently spent some time with the Steelers, starting two games last season. Haeg was strong in those appearances, earning a 67.5 overall grade on Pro Football Focus.

The Browns had an additional roster spot available due to the retirement of Isaiah Weston.

Browns, DeAndre Hopkins Have Mutual Interest

The Browns remain in the mix for Hopkins and are one of the favorites to land the former All-Pro. Much of the momentum is due to Hopkins’ relationship with Browns QB Deshaun Watson, who he played with during their time together on the Houston Texans.

Watson and Hopkins were a dynamic duo from 2017-19, with both players establishing themselves as Pro Bowl talents. Hopkins caught 264 passes for 3,343 yards and 25 touchdowns from Watson during their time together in Houston.

The report of the Browns and Hopkins comes via well-connected Houston-based insider Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Sports.

“DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson built one of the most potent passing connections in the game during their shared tenure with the Texans, forming a chemistry and timing unmatched around the league,” Wilson reported on June 2. “They could have a potential reunion with the Cleveland Browns with strong mutual interest existing between the All-Pro wide receiver, the former Texans quarterback and the AFC North franchise, according to league sources.”

Deshaun Watson Made Pitch to DeAndre Hopkins

Watson has maintained a relationship with Hopkins and has let the front office know it’s something he wants to see happen. While speaking to reporters at a charity golf event on May 29, Watson spoke about potentially linking up with his former top pass-catcher.

“Of course we would love to have him,” Watson told Cleveland reporters this week. “He knows that. We had a lot of connections, but that’s kind of out of my range of things, of kind of coordinating things. So all I can do is make a call and see what happens and let (Browns general manager Andrew Berry) do the rest.”

The Browns have already done some work to improve their wide receiver room. Cleveland traded for Elijah Moore, adding him to a unit that already includes Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. The team added another speedster in veteran Marquise Goodwin, who has already made an impact during OTAs.

Cleveland also brought in another player from Watson’s days with the Texans, signing tight end Jordan Akins — a big body who can contribute in the passing game.

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