Cleveland Browns

Browns release veteran tight end Gary Barnidge

(AP Photo)

In a surprising move, the Cleveland Browns have released veteran tight end Gary Barnidge, one of their most productive players the past four years.

“We’d like to thank Gary for all he has done for the Browns and the Cleveland community in his four seasons with our organization,” said Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown. “He has been a fine representative of our team, and we wish him the best going forward.”

Barnidge made 134 catches for 1,655 yards over the last two seasons. He signed a three-year extension with the Browns during his 2015 Pro Bowl season, when he had 79 receptions for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns, but was deemed expendable after the Browns used one of their three first-round draft picks on David Njoku.

The Browns traded a second-round pick to Green Bay and moved into the first round to select Njoku with the No. 29 overall pick on Thursday night.

Barnidge tweeted Thursday night that he was looking forward to working with Njoku.

But less than 24 hours later, the 31-year-old Barnidge was released. He took to Twitter to thank the Browns.

Barnidge has played eight seasons in the NFL after starting career with the Carolina Panthers.

Cleveland saves just over $2 million toward the cap in 2017 and around $4.3 million in 2018 by cutting Barnidge.

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