Two pieces of news came out around the Cleveland Browns' linebackers this morning. One was fully expected — Sione Takitaki has landed on the IR after tearing his ACL.
The second is much more noteworthy — the Browns signed veteran linebacker Reggie Ragland. Depending on the details of this signing, it could be a massive mistake.
On the surface, it's easy to see why signing Ragland might be appealing. He's a former second-round pick who has started 47 NFL games and is still not even 30 years old. That's an easy story to sell to get fans excited.
But there's a reason that someone who checks all these boxes hasn't been on an active roster all season and was available to sign with a team fighting to stay in playoff contention in Week 14. The common theme has been that teams simply don't seem to want Ragland around.
He was drafted in the second round by the Buffalo Bills in 2016 before tearing his ACL and missing his rookie season. His second season he was playing with the third-team defense in training camp and was then traded for a fourth-round pick.
The Kansas City Chiefs had him start 25 games across his first two seasons, looking like he had turned his career around. He then started just seven in 2019 before being allowed to walk in free agency.
Since then he's only managed to earn one-year contracts, culminating only in a practice squad deal with the Las Vegas Raiders this year. The Browns will be his sixth team since 2016.
Whatever the reason Ragland can't stick with a team (could it be poor effort? a detrimental locker room presence? or simply poor performance), it's hard to imagine he suddenly turns things around in Cleveland.
The Browns also have a promising young linebacker who should be taking over for Takitaki in Tony Fields.
A fifth-round pick in 2021, Fields has stepped into a rotational role over the last three weeks, racking up 10 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception and 1 touchdown. Pro Football Focus has given him an overall grade of 64.6 on the year, which is something Ragland has only managed once in the last five years.
If the Browns have any sense, they'll continue to see what they've got in Fields and not waste much energy on trying to unlock the potential Ragland once showed as a second-round pick.
Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.