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NFL AM: Browns Cut Dwayne Bowe And Karlos Dansby

The Browns cut Bowe and Dansby; Miami is hosting Chris Johnson; James Laurinaitis signs with the Saints.

Pat Donovan

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Browns cut Dwayne Bowe and Karlos Dansby:

While much of the Cleveland Browns activity, or inactivity this offseason is puzzling, it’s not puzzling that the team cut veterans Dwayne Bowe and Karlos Dansby on Wednesday.

Bowe signed with Cleveland a year ago and promptly became one of the more disappointing free agent signings, ever. While nobody expected the 31-year-old receiver to become Jerry Rice in Cleveland, they also didn’t expect the former first-round pick who had caught at least 57 catches every year since 2009, and never fewer than 47, to be completely non-existent in Cleveland.

Bowe played in just seven games for the Browns, and was only targeted 13 times all season long, pulling in just five receptions for 57 yards. Considering the veteran wide out always lacked top-end speed, his only season in Cleveland could end up being his last in the NFL. While there might be a team that takes a shot on Bowe, especially in a year with a pretty weak class of receivers in the draft, he likely won’t provide much value if a team does give him a shot.

The story is a little different for Dansby. Despite being three years older than Bowe, Dansby’s slip in production hasn’t been as drastic. For over a decade now, the veteran linebacker has been one of the best middle linebackers in football. That may not be the case for Dansby anymore, but he could still be a veteran presence and playmaker for a 3-4 team with a speedy young middle linebacker to play next to.

While Dansby likely won’t even be the player he was three years ago in Arizona, his playmaking ability, nose for the football, and veteran presence will make him a solid signing for someone, and the linebacker already has an idea of one team right in the division who could have eyes on him.

“They’re in a rebuild. This will get me closer to my destiny,” Dansby said, via Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot. “I’m sure the Bengals are licking their chops right now.”

Dansby’s words make it sound like wherever he goes next, finding a team that’s close to competing for a championship is a priority for the linebacker entering the twilight of his career.

Chris Johnson to visit Miami Dolphins:

The Miami Dolphins aren’t desperate for a running back, but they’re not far from it. After watching free agent back Lamar Miller leave for the Houston Texans, the Dolphins signed Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson to a four-year offer sheet, but the Broncos matched the contract, retaining the back on the last day they could do so.

That left Miami still with very little on the depth chart at tailback, with just Jay Ajayi, Jahwan Edwards, and Damien Williams on the roster, and very few options available in free agency.

One of those options is 30-year-old veteran tailback Chris Johnson, who’s on the market after averaging over four yards-per-carry each of the last two years with the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals. However, after missing just one game during his six seasons with the Tennessee Titans, Johnson was on the field for just 15 games combined the last two seasons.

The veteran back who has almost 10,000 yards in his NFL career probably shouldn’t be a feature back any longer, but there are very few feature backs in the league today anyhow. He wouldn’t provide nearly as much tread or durability as C.J. Anderson would have, but as they say, beggars can’t be choosers, and right now the Dolphins are beggars when it comes to the tailback position.

James Laurinaitis signs with the Saints:

2016 will be about new things for former St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis. After seven years playing middle linebacker in St. Louis, the veteran linebacker won’t be joining the team on their move to Los Angeles, and he won’t be playing middle linebacker anymore either.

The Saints shifted to a 3-4 defense after Dennis Allen took over as the defensive coordinator for the jettisoned Rob Ryan, and there’s no chance he’s supplanting second-year linebacker Stephone Anthony who was excellent during his rookie campaign, so signing with the Saints will mean a new position for Laurinaitis as well.

The move could be a very positive one for the veteran linebacker who lacks the speed to be a top-tier middle linebacker at this stage in his career. Laurinaitis can also be someone Anthony can rely on for veteran leadership as he started every game during his seven years with the Rams.

The move isn’t likely that exciting for Saints fans who have watched all of the best defensive free agents go elsewhere, and who know New Orleans still has a long way to go to being competitive on that side of the football, but for Laurinaitis, this is a new and exciting opportunity.

“I’m honored and excited to be joining the Saints organization,” the linebacker said via Twitter.

It’s going to be an interesting move, because outside of a pro’s pro who doesn’t miss games, the Saints don’t know what to expect from Laurinaitis. While he’s the kind of guy you want in the locker room, and a guy who doesn’t miss games, he’s also an aging linebacker who saw his play slip over the last couple of seasons, who will be attempting to change positions.

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.

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