Predicting week one procedural maneuvers

What's more fun than pouring over the enthralling legalese of the NFL/PA collective bargaining agreement? Guessing what teams will do based on its provisions, of course ... and probably a lubeless colonoscopy. But we soldier on.

All teams are required to have at least five players on an "inactive" list for game days, which leaves (of a 53-man roster) 48 "active" and eligible to play (provided that a minimum of eight actives are offensive linemen, otherwise it's 47). The new rule for a third QB is effectively a 49ᵗʰ active, though he only becomes eligible if and when two quarterbacks ahead of him can no longer play.

Another wrinkle in this document that's as much of a page-turner as a foreign encyclopedia, is the Standard Elevation Addendum. This allows a team to elevate a player (or a maximum of two per week) from its practice squad to the active roster, technically the active/inactive list, though elevating a player to be inactive seems pointless unless the team just really wants to unnecessarily pay him more (comment below if you know of a good reason for this that I'm missing, thx) — which may or may not fall under the ambiguous "circumvention" clause, which isn't nearly as widely governing as the NBA's version.

With one elevated player, a team must have six inactives; with two elevations there must be seven inactive players on game day. A quarterback elevated from the PS for the game cannot be the "49ᵗʰ active" so-called emergency QB.

If you made it this far, thanks much for sticking through what probably reads as clearly as the Voynich manuscript. The purpose of the foregoing was to set the table in order to guess what the Browns will serve up to satisfy these limitations.

It seems unlikely to me that Michael Dunn cannot elicit a roster spot on an NFL team; personally I think he's a better O-line reserve than Nick Harris (as explained here). Maybe I'm wrong in my evaluation of his skillset. Maybe he really likes Cleveland and doesn't want to move. But the difference between pay per week for a player in his specific circumstance being on a PS (where he is currently) and having a roster spot (which is what a player gets paid for in a week they're elevated) is $20,600 (max) and $56,111. So I'm going to guess that he gets elevated.

CB A.J. Green III was waived and ultimately added to Cleveland's PS when the Browns claimed Kahlef Hailassie (a 2023 UDFA on whom I had a fifth-round grade out of Western Kentucky). Green has a $300K signing bonus from earlier this year which is already dead money; he also had $600K in Paragraph 5 salary that was guaranteed. He won't make anywhere near that amount if he were to ride the PS all season, meaning a large portion of the $600K wouldn't be offset (and thus won't be reimbursed to Cleveland's cap sheet) if he's a PS-only player for all of 2023.

It'd be a bad look for a GM — who gave Green far more green than is mandated for an exclusive rights free agent (as discussed here) — to set fire to a pile of money completely unnecessarily. So based on his NFL experience (which Hailassie doesn't have) and his contract, I'll venture the guess that A.J. Green III is elevated too.

That still leaves the matter of the inactives, which, if there are two PS elevations, would require seven. Let's try the following:

David Bell
Mohamoud Diabate
Kahlef Hailassie
Ronnie Hickman
Dawand Jones
Alex Wright
Luke Wypler

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