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Brian Hartline released by Cleveland Browns

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After selecting four receivers in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns cut ties with a veteran.

The Browns released wideout Brian Hartline on Monday, the team announced.

The move shouldn't be a surprise. The 29-year-old receiver struggled to gain separation the past several seasons and was a below-replacement-level wideout on one of the shallowest pass-catching groups in the NFL. Hartline compiled 523 yards on 46 receptions, with two touchdowns in 12 games last season, his only year in Cleveland. 

Hartline could latch on with a team searching for a veteran No. 3 or 4 receiver to round out a depth chart. 

Cutting Hartline creates a clear pathway for the bevy of rookie pass-catchers to see more time as the Browns completely overhaul their downtrodden roster.

First-round pick Corey Coleman is in line to be the team's leading receiver, with Andrew Hawkins the remaining veteran. Draft picks Ricardo Louis (fourth round), Jordan Payton (fifth round) and Rashard Higgins (fifth round) should battle for playing time. As he has been his entire pro career, converted quarterback Terrelle Pryor remains the wild card of the group.

Shedding Hartline was the most logical move for the rebuilding Browns. Cutting bait early in the offseason will allow more reps for the young wideouts throughout the summer. It also cements Coleman's place atop the depth chart (and in fantasy football drafts).

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