BEREA—The Browns terminated the contract of defensive lineman Phil Taylor in somewhat of a surprise move, given the team also released nose tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen.
“Just given the depth that we had in the (defensive linemen) room, we knew we had to make some difficult choices,” Mike Pettine said. “I think you can group Kitch (Kitchen) in along with Phil. We were aware of where Phil was in his state of rehab and was well on his way to being back, but just given the current circumstances of us needing to trim the roster down and where he was and how we felt about the room, we just felt it was the right decision for all involved.”
Taylor was the 21st overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft after trading with the Falcons. Other than his rookie season when he played all 16 games, Taylor missed 20 games in the last three seasons. In his Browns career, Taylor had 140 tackles with seven sacks. In 2015, Taylor played in just five games with 10 tackles.
Taylor had a guaranteed contract for the 2015 season of $5.477 million, but Pettine said that didn’t go into the decision.
“It’s something we’re obviously, well aware of but we did not factor that in (to the decision),” Pettine said. “The contractual stuff is a secondary thing. We say who are the 75 we want to move forward with thatn to the 53. ” Pettine said. “I don’t think it’s very prudent to let the contractual stuff be a factor, especially where we are financially. You don’t want that to be a factor.”
DL Phil Taylor played for the first time in the preseason against Tampa Bay, playing 11 plays.
“He did some good things,” Pettine said. “That is more of a confidence test than anything out there to be able to go out there and know that it is full speed and push off of it and change direction and take on double teams. I think just like anybody else, Alex (Mack), anybody coming off leg injury, Armonty (Bryant), a lot more of it is the mental than it is the physical. It was good to get him out there. As limited as it was, it was good to get him out there playing.”
On Monday, Pettine said he didn’t know when Taylor would be 100 percent.
“I don’t,” he said. “I don’t because that was a pretty serious knee injury and those things take time. I just don’t have a good answer for that.”
With the release of Taylor and Kitchen, it paves the way for Jamie Meder, Jacobbi McDaniel and Dylan Wynn to have a chance to make the final roster.