The 6-foot-4 GIlbert will be the third quarterback on the Browns roster, joining Baker Mayfield and Drew Stanton.
One of the most prolific high school quarterbacks in Texas history, Gilbert played at the University of Texas and Southern Methodist and was a sixth-round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2014.
But after just two months on the practice squad his rookie year, he was cut. Short stints with the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions followed, and Gilbert spent 2017 on the Oakland Raiders practice squad. He was on a 53-man roster for the first time last year, with the Carolina Panthers, and made his first-ever regular-season appearance in the regular-season finale.
The 30-year-old Burnett spent last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers after playing with the Green Bay Packers for the first eight years of his career. Burnett was released earlier this week after asking the Steelers to let him go earlier in the offseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Morgan Burnett stands on the sideline against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns have looked to a former Packer again for safety help and to the failed AAF for a backup quarterback.
Gilbert, like his father, Gale, made a nice little career out of being an NFL backup. Gale Gilbert holds the NFL record as the only player in NFL history to make it to five consecutive Super Bowls (Bills and Chargers 91-95).
They signed former Packers and Steelers safety Morgan Burnett and former AAF quarterback Garrett Gilbert on Friday, the club announced.
Burnett, 30, was released by the Steelers Monday after one season, a few months after he asked to be let go. Burnett told NFL Network he wanted out because he played out of position as a dime linebacker. Specifically, he said he wants a new start (and) a chance to play safety again.
In Cleveland, where he signed a two-year contract, hell not only have that, but a chance to win a starting job. Burnett joins Eric Murray, acquired in a trade with the Chiefs for Emmanuel Ogbah, in the competition at strong safety. If he wins the job, hell play opposite free safety Damarious Randall, his former Packers teammate.
After signing a three-year, $14.35 million free agent deal with the Steelers last offseason, Burnett lost the starting strong safety job in camp to No. 28 overall pick Terrell Edmunds.
Burnett also suffered a groin injury and played in only 11 games last season. He made 30 tackles and broke up six passes.
According to profootballfocus.com, Burnett played only 142 snaps at safety last season and 248 as an inside linebacker. Overall, he played in only 37.2 percent of the Steelers snaps. In Cleveland, hell be reunited with former Packers personnel executives John Dorsey, Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith.
In eight games this season with the Orlando Apollos, Gilbert completed 60.6 percent of his 259 attempts to total 2,152 yards and 13 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
The Browns have needed a strong safety since they traded Jabrill Peppers to the Giants last month. They also released backup safety Derrick Kindred.
Burnett was originally a third-round pick of the Packers in 2010 out of Georgia Tech. He spent his first eight seasons in Green Bay before the Steelers signed him as an unrestricted free agent before last season.
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Gilbert, 27, played for the Orlando Apollos of the defunct Alliance of American Football, which folded this week. He was regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the developmental league, throwing for a league-high 2,152 yards and 13 touchdowns, and completing 60.6 percent of his attempts. He led the Apollos to a league-best 7-1 mark.
Gilbert (6-4, 219) was drafted by the Rams in the sixth-round of the 2014 draft out of SMU. He attended Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas, same as Baker Mayfield. Mr. Texas Football in 2008, he began his college career at Texas, and transferred to SMU in 2012.
Gilbert has also spent time with the Patriots, Lions, Raiders and Panthers, but hes completed only two of three NFL attempts for 40 yards.
Gilbert told WFNZs Wilson and Parcell in February that he was joining the AAF to see where it leads.
“I think thats one of the great things about this league is the fact that its been presented and promoted as sort of a complimentary league,” said Gilbert. “Were not trying to compete with the NFL. Youve seen guys like Josh Johnson go from being the No. 1 draft pick in the Alliance to two weeks later starting for the (Washington) Redskins. And then even personally with my situation being able to go jump back to Carolina for Week 17 and then hop right back into training camp.
Those type of things are certainly things that I think are really helping this league. Because I think its growing some talent, guys who maybe have slipped through the cracks for whatever reason. But I am not treating every day, every practice, every game like an audition. My job is just to come out here and be the best quarterback I can, and let the chips fall where they may.
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