SAN FRANCISCO—The mass exodus that began with head coach Jim Harbaugh continued with Saturday’s news that punter Andy Lee has been traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the Cleveland Browns.
Lee, an 11-year NFL veteran, was traded to Cleveland in exchange for a seventh round draft choice in 2017.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Lee became expendable after the team opted to draft former Clemson punter Bradley Pinion in the fifth round of this year’s draft.
“For the last 11 years, Andy has been a tremendous representative of the 49ers organization both on the field and in the community,” said Niners General Manager Trent Baalke.
“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.”
Shortly after acquiring Lee, the Browns announced that they were going to cut ties with punter Spencer Lanning, who ranked just two spots behind Lee in the league rankings for net yards per punt.
Lanning’s release completes a full purge of Cleveland’s 2014 specialists, as the team had already cut ties with kicker Garrett Hartley and long-snapper Christian Yount.
In a tweet dedicated to Cleveland fans, Lanning expressed his warm sentiments towards the organization, writing, “Been a hell of a ride. Ya’ll deserve a championship, hate I won’t be here to experience it. Can’t thank you enough for the memories!”
For his part, Lee expressed his love and gratitude to a franchise he has called his own for over a decade.
“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. “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!”