The Cleveland Browns brought in a player that’s familiar to those in the front office and could be a low-risk, high-reward signing late in free agency.
The team announced that they signed former Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis to a deal in addition to signing quarterback Drew Stanton.
Janis was Green Bay’s seventh round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Saginaw Valley State. In his four years at SVSU, Janis recorded 246 catches for 4,305 yards and 46 touchdowns.
Alonzo Highsmith and Elliott Wolf who are now part of the Browns front office were in Green Bay’s front office when Janis was drafted.
Over his four year career with the Packers, Janis was limited as a wide receiver with Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb ahead of him on the depth chart and mainly played special teams.
He recorded 22 tackles on special teams over those four seasons and also had 23 career kick returns for 568 yards including his career long return of 70 yards which he made during the 2015 season.
While he has the size, speed and ability to play wide receiver on this level, Janis only has 17 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown in a four year span.
However in the 2016 NFL divisional playoff game against Arizona, Janis had a breakout performance with seven catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns including a game tying Hail Mary from Aaron Rodgers to send the game into overtime.
The Browns are obviously looking at potential wide receivers to bring in to try and create some competition. Behind Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry, there’s a lot of unknown with Corey Coleman, Ricardo Louis and Rashard Higgins.
Janis has a chance to come in and compete to be a possible WR3 or WR4 on the roster and this type of signing won’t change the team’s draft plans of potentially drafting a receiver early in the NFL Draft next month.
Even if Janis doesn’t pan out at receiver for the team, if he can play special teams on the same level as he did in Green Bay, it’ll be a nice contribution to the roster.
Brian Fonfara of the Pack To The Future podcast gave a quick breakdown as to what to expect from Janis: