Browns down to bottom of WR depth chart after Jarvis Landry, others hit COVID-19 list

Jack Baer
·Writer
·3 min read

Baker Mayfield will reportedly be missing nearly his entire receiver corps when the Cleveland Browns play the New York Jets on Sunday.

Wide receivers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge have all been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, as has linebacker Jacob Phillips, the Browns announced on Saturday. The players were reportedly deemed close contacts of a player who tested positive for the virus, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

All five players will reportedly miss Sunday’s game. Per Cabot, that will mark the first missed game of Landry’s career.

With Odell Beckham Jr. still out with a torn ACL, the Browns will be left scraping the bottom of their depth chart at wide receiver. Only Marvin Hall, who was claimed on waivers from the Detroit Lions earlier this month, remains on the active roster, with practice squad members Ja'Marcus Bradley and Derrick Willies being added for Sunday’s game.

Basically, be ready to see plenty of action for tight ends Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant and David Njoku on Sunday, and maybe some routes for running backs Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb. Fortunately for the Browns, who are still jockeying for AFC North and playoff position, they will be playing one of the worst teams in the NFL in the Jets.

Browns shut down facility earlier Saturday

The Browns announced they were shutting down their facility earlier on Saturday after a player’s test came back positive for COVID-19, with the team’s flight to New Jersey was delayed while contact tracing was conducted.

Hours later, the team announced it had linebacker B.J. Goodson on the COVID-19/reserve list, but did not specify whether Goodson tested positive for the virus. Placement on the reserve/COVID-19 test means a player has either tested positive for COVID-19 or has been in close contact with a person who tested positive.

Vegas already backing away from Browns

Even though the Browns are still expected to win against the 1-13 Jets, the spread of Sunday’s game started moving in New York’s direction soon after news of the Browns’ COVID-19 troubles broke.

The Browns were a 10-point favorite when Saturday began. Now, as of Saturday evening, that spread is all the way down to 6.5 points at MGM.

Why the Browns can’t sign more WRs

As the Denver Broncos learned earlier this season, replacing an entire position group due to COVID-19 contact tracing is nearly impossible amid a pandemic. NFL rules dictate that any newly acquired player must go through a six-day entry testing process before he can start practicing with a team.

The San Francisco 49ers faced a similar situation in early November, down to two wide receivers available with many other players missing.

If the Browns players had been deemed close contacts earlier in the week, they could have been activated in time, but instead, here we are.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry runs with the ball during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Cleveland. The Ravens won 47-42. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Jarvis Landry will miss the first game of his career on Sunday. (AP Photo/David Richard)

More from Yahoo Sports:

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Cleveland
+380+10O 57.5
Kansas City
-500-10U 57.5