Last move: Browns trade disappointing OL Erving to Chiefs

CLEVELAND — The Browns made their final move with offensive lineman Cam Erving, another of the team’s first-round busts.

 

Erving, who was shifted from guard to center to tackle during two seasons with Cleveland, was traded Wednesday to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2018 fifth-round draft pick. It ends a disappointing stay in Cleveland for the No. 19 overall pick in 2015.

Erving’s versatility had attracted him to the Browns, who were convinced the former Florida State standout could be a building block in their turnaround.

However, Erving struggled wherever the Browns put him and the team decided to cut ties with their second first-round pick in hours.

Earlier, the team released two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, the No. 7 overall pick in 2010 whose injuries, age and high-priced contract didn’t mesh with the long-term plans of the team’s analytics-guided front office.

Since 2011, seven players drafted by the Browns in the first round are no longer with the team. Erving joins an inglorious list includes Johnny Manziel, Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden and Barkevious Mingo.

The Browns used Erving as a guard during his rookie season, but he was overmatched. The team shifted him to center last season after Pro Bowler Alex Mack left as a free agent, but Erving wasn’t much better.

The 6-foot-5, 313-pounder Erving has been sidelined with a calf injury in recent weeks and limited in practice.

The Browns had been looking to deal him and were able to extract a higher pick than expected from the Chiefs, who were thought to be settled along the offensive line.

Former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher and standout Mitchell Schwartz, who excelled for many years with the Browns, are the starting offensive tackles, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif got a big contract this offseason to man one guard spot and upstart Bryan Witzmann is at the other, while Mitch Morse has emerged as one of the league’s best centers.

But as a former offensive line coach, Kansas City coach Andy Reid understands that you can never have too many capable bodies.

So while it’s unclear exactly where Erving will fit into the mix, he is likely to serve as a backup at multiple spots, potentially handling the swing tackle job Jah Reid has had for a few years.

Regardless, it’s the second aggressive move made by new Chiefs general manager Brett Veach this week. He shipped a fourth-round pick in 2019 to Buffalo to acquire inside linebacker Reggie Ragland, who was the Bills’ second-round pick last year.

And for Cleveland, the deal adds to their bounty of picks in 2018. At this point, the Browns have 13 selections, including two in the first round and three in the second — ammunition to accelerate their rebuild.

Always accountable despite his struggles, Erving started 13 games last season, 12 at center and one at right tackle. In 2015, he played in all 16 games and made two starts at each guard position.

Cleveland’s offensive line was ravaged by injuries last year, but Erving helped the Browns finish second in the NFL by averaging 4.9 yards per attempt.

Erving made 42 consecutive starts in college, beginning his career with the Seminoles as a defensive lineman before moving to offensive tackle.

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