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Cleveland Browns release Phil Taylor

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Cleveland's first wave of cuts have come with a slight surprise.

The team announced Tuesday that defensive tackle Phil Taylor has been released after four seasons with the club that made him their first-round pick in 2011.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Cleveland reached an injury settlement with the lineman, who was due a guaranteed $5.477 million this season.

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Taylor missed almost all the offseason program recovering from knee surgery. Browns coach Mike Pettine said Monday that it was too early to know if Taylor could make an impact in games out of the gate.

"Given the depth that we had in that room, we knew we were going to have to make some difficult choices," coach Mike Pettine said Tuesday, per the Akron Beacon Journal. "... 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, of course, was the top name netted in an ill-fated draft-day trade with the Falcons that sent premier wideout Julio Jones to Atlanta. The Browns allowed the Falcons to trade up into their No. 6 spot in exchange for a swath of future picks -- chosen two regimes ago -- that netted a big pile of nothing in wideout Greg Little, fullback Owen Marecic and quarterback Brandon Weeden.

Taylor was a productive player against the run for Cleveland, and would likely still be on the roster if the Browns weren't so confident about the play of first-round nose tackle Danny Shelton.

With Randy Starks and Desmond Bryant surrounding Shelton up front, the Browns -- for the first time this century -- have too much depth to keep around a trusty veteran with knee issues. 

That said, we expect teams to line up for his services sooner than later.

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