Seneca Wallace is out, and Colt McCoy is sticking around.
Performance, potential, age and salary were factors in the Browns’ decision to release Wallace in favor of keeping McCoy as the No. 2 quarterback.
The Browns cut the roster from 75 to the regular-season limit of 53 Friday night — they released the moves just before midnight — and the quarterback choices grabbed the headlines. Thaddeus Lewis was kept as a developmental No. 3.
“Hard work pays off,” Lewis tweeted. “And taking advantage of ya opportunities has its rewards. I’m truly grateful to be apart of the Cleveland Browns.”
The Browns may still shuffle the bottom of the roster with waiver claims today, but there were a handful of surprises in who made the team.
Undrafted rookie cornerback Johnson Bademosi, undrafted safety Tashaun Gipson and defensive end Brian Sanford survived. The Browns also kept a pair of injured guys: defensive tackle Scott Paxson (knee) and fourth running back Chris Ogbonnaya (ankle).
Gipson was saved over safety David Sims, who had two interceptions in the preseason. Sims was traded to the Eagles for a conditional draft pick in 2013.
“I want to give GOD the glory for allowing me to play for his glory on SUNDAY’s,” Gipson tweeted. “I’m excited to be a BROWN.#dawgpound.”
The joy of those who made the roster was matched by the disappointment of those who didn’t.
Tight end Evan Moore was a surprise cut after signing an extension last year that already paid him more than $4 million. He also shared the team lead with four touchdown catches in 2011. But second-year tight end Jordan Cameron passed him on the depth chart, and coach Pat Shurmur was never happy with Moore’s blocking.
Also cut were: H-back Brad Smelley, defensive tackles Brian Schaefering, Kiante Tripp and Ronnie Cameron, cornerback James Dockery, receivers Josh Cooper and Rod Windsor, tight end Dan Gronkowski, offensive linemen Jarrod Shaw, Stanley Daniels, Garth Gerhart, Jeff Shugarts and Dominic Alford, defensive ends William Green and Ernest Owusu, linebackers Benjamin Jacobs and Quinton Spears and running back Adonis Thomas.
Smelley, a seventh-rounder, was the only member of the draft class waived. He, Cooper, Shaw and Cameron are expected to land on the eight-man practice squad if not claimed by another team.
Scott Fujita is on the suspended list – although he hopes it gets overturned – leaving the Browns with just five linebackers, including rookie James-Michael Johnson, who hurt an oblique Thursday.
Wallace is 32 years old and was due $2.4 million if he made the team. He said the contract might’ve played a role in the decision to go with McCoy as rookie Brandon Weeden’s backup.
“It started probably back in OTAs and minicamp, what direction they probably wanted to go in,” Wallace said on SiriusXM Radio. “A lot of times it’s not about your performance, sometimes it’s about the numbers, what you’re getting paid, or whatever the case may be. I don’t know if I fell victim to that, but it is what it is and it’s time to move on. I can’t get down about it.”
Wallace joined the Browns in 2010 and started seven games, winning one. Wallace was behind McCoy throughout camp and played sparingly in the preseason. He went 3-for-4 with a touchdown Thursday and finished the preseason 16-for-27 (59 percent) for 195 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a 90.8 rating.
“As long as I know every time I stepped on the field and tried to make plays and put us in the best situation to win games, that’s the only thing you can do,” Wallace said. “I felt like my years here in Cleveland I gave it all I had every opportunity I did get, and hopefully I can move on to bigger and better things and I wish nothing but the best for the Browns.”
McCoy, 25 and with a salary of $540,000, was just 2-for-5 with an interception in the preseason finale, but played well as a whole. He finished 20-for-29 (69 percent) for 250 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a 92.6 rating.
McCoy went 4-9 last year as the starter, but has repeatedly stated his increased comfort level in the West Coast Offense in his second season running it.
“I’ve practiced well, I’ve improved, I feel confident,” McCoy said Thursday night.
Philadelphia sportscaster Howard Eskin tweeted the Browns may have interest in veteran quarterback A.J. Feeley. He was with general manager Tom Heckert and Shurmur in Philadelphia, and Shurmur also coached him in St. Louis.
But Feeley, 35, didn’t participate in an NFL training camp after playing five games for the Rams last season. The Browns may like him as the No. 3 quarterback and mentor, but likely wouldn’t sign him until after Week 1, when veteran contracts are no longer guaranteed for the season.
Tom Pelissero also reported linebacker Solomon Elimimian was headed to Cleveland for a physical and a spot on the practice squad. Elimimian spent two years in the Canadian Football League.
• Quarterbacks (3): Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, Thaddeus Lewis
• Running backs (4): Trent Richardson, Montario Hardesty, Brandon Jackson, Chris Ogbonnaya
• Fullback (1): Owen Marecic
• Receivers (6): Greg Little, Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin, Joshua Cribbs, Jordan Norwood
• Tight ends (3): Benjamin Watson, Alex Smith, Jordan Cameron
• Offensive linemen (8): Alex Mack, Jason Pinkston, Shawn Lauvao, Joe Thomas, Mitchell Schwartz, Oniel Cousins, Ryan Miller, John Greco
• Defensive linemen (9): Frostee Rucker, Jabaal Sheard, Ahtyba Rubin, Billy Winn, John Hughes, Scott Paxson, Emmanuel Stephens, Juqua Parker, Brian Sanford
• Linebackers (5): D’Qwell Jackson, Kaluka Maiava, James-Michael Johnson, L.J. Fort, Craig Robertson
• Cornerbacks (6): Joe Haden, Sheldon Brown, Dimitri Patterson, Trevin Wade, Buster Skrine, Johnson Bademosi
• Safeties (5): T.J. Ward, Eric Hagg, Usama Young, Bubba Ventrone, Tashaun Gipson
Specialists (3): Kicker Phil Dawson, punter Reggie Hodges, long snapper Christian Yount
• WAIVED (18): OL Dominic Alford, DL Ronnie Cameron, WR Josh Cooper, OL Stanley Daniels, CB James Dockery, OL Garth Gerhart, DE William Green, TE Dan Gronkowski, LB Benjamin Jacobs, DE Ernest Owusu, DT Brian Schaefering, OL Jarrod Shaw, OL Jeff Shugarts, FB Brad Smelley, LB Quinton Spears, RB Adonis Thomas, DT Kiante Tripp, WR Rod Windsor
• CONTRACT TERMINATED (2): TE Evan Moore, QB Seneca Wallace
• RESERVE/SUSPENDED BY COMMISSIONER (1): LB Scott Fujita
• PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM (1): DT Phil Taylor
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or email@example.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.