The Cleveland Browns are moving on from punter Spencer Lanningin favor of 11-year NFL veteran Andy Lee, whom the team acquired in a trade with San Francisco, the 49ers announced Saturday.
The Browns traded a seventh-round pick in 2017, sources said, for the rights to Lee and released Lanning. Lee is a three-time Pro Bowler who was no longer in the 49ers' plans after the team drafted Clemson punter Bradley Pinion in the fifth round.
"For the last 11 years, Andy has been a tremendous representative of the 49ers organization both on the field and in the community," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "While he may be best known for his production on the field, we have come to know Andy as a great teammate and family man. We would like to thank Andy for his commitment to this organization, while wishing him and his family continued success throughout his career and beyond."
Lee had been San Francisco's punter since 2004 and averaged 46.2 yards per attempt during that span, with a net average of 39.6. Punt returners have scored four touchdowns on Lee's 941 career attempts, for an average of one score per 235 attempts. Returners have not scored on any of Lanning's 177 career attempts.
"It has truly been an amazing 11 years with the 49ers organization, and I'm thankful for everything they have done for me," Lee said in a statement. "San Francisco gave me the opportunity to play in the NFL by drafting me in 2004, and will forever be a special place for me and my family. Thank you to the York family, my teammates, the coaches, the football staff and the Faithful for your support over the years. It's been a great time!"
Last season, Lanning was third in punts attempted (93), 22nd in yards average (44.3) and 17th in net yards (39.2), two spots behind Lee's 39.6. The Browns' punt coverage gave up 7.0 yards per return, which was tops in the league for punters with at least 90 attempts. Punting precision plays a role in that success rate.
Lanning was due a $585,000 salary in 2015 with no guaranteed money and did not expect to be cut.
Lanning's release completes a clean sweep of Cleveland's specialists. Long snapper Christian Yount was waived last week and the club cut kicker Garrett Hartley, who took over the kicking duties late last season after Billy Cundiff was let go.
Lanning had been scheduled to appear at the team's fanfest Saturday. He sent out a note of thanks on Twitter to Cleveland fans for their support.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Browns trade for punter Andy Lee, release Spencer Lanning