Browns down to bottom of WR depth chart after Jarvis Landry, others hit COVID-19 list
Baker Mayfield will reportedly miss almost his entire recipient corps when the Cleveland Browns play the New York Jets on Sunday.
Wide-angle receivers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge have been put on the reserve / COVID-19 list, as has linebacker Jacob Phillips, who announced the Browns on Saturday. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the players were viewed as close contacts of a player who tested positive for the virus.
All five players will reportedly miss Sunday's game. Per Cabot, this is Landry's first missed game.
With Odell Beckham Jr. still down with a torn ACL, the Browns on the wide receiver will be scraping the bottom of their depth map. Only Marvin Hall, who was sued under Detroit Lions exemptions earlier this month, remains on the active list. Training team members Ja'Marcus Bradley and Derrick Willies will be added for Sunday's game.
Basically be ready to see lots of action for Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant and David Njoku on Sunday, and maybe some routes to walk back to Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb. Fortunately for the Browns, who are still battling for the AFC North and playoff position, they'll be playing in the Jets against one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Browns closed the facility on Saturday
The Browns announced they would close their facility early on Saturday after a player tested positive for COVID-19. The team's flight to New Jersey was delayed while contact tracing was in progress.
Hours later, the team announced that linebacker B.J. Goodson is on the COVID-19 / reserve list but did not state whether Goodson tested positive for the virus. Placement in the reserve / COVID-19 test means that a player has either tested positive for COVID-19 or has been in close contact with someone who tested positive.
Vegas is already backing away from Browns
Although the Browns are still expected to win against the 1-13 Jets, the spread of Sunday game began to move towards New York shortly after news of the Browns' COVID-19 problems broke out.
The Browns were a 10-point favorite when Saturday started. As of Saturday evening, this spread at MGM has fallen to 6.5 points.
Why the Browns can no longer sign WRs
As the Denver Broncos learned earlier this season, in a pandemic, replacing an entire position group is nearly impossible due to COVID-19 contact tracing. NFL rules mandate that every newly acquired player must pass a six-day entry test before they can practice with a team.
The San Francisco 49ers faced a similar situation in early November, except for two broad receivers that saw many other players go missing.
If the Browns players had been classified as close ties earlier in the week they could have been activated in time, but here we are instead.
Jarvis Landry will miss the first game of his career on Sunday. (AP Photo / David Richard)
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