After running back Ben Tate signed a two-year, $6.2 million contract with the Browns as an unrestricted free agent March 15, he told reporters he was eager to escape the shadow of former teammate Arian Foster and prove he’s one of the best running backs in the NFL.
Well, Foster believes Tate is capable of accomplishing his mission. They spent the past four seasons together with the Houston Texans, so Foster has intimate knowledge of Tate’s talent.
“He’s always been a really good running back in the NFL,” Foster said today during a conference call promoting the NFL- and Browns-themed film Draft Day, which will open in theaters April 11. “It’s unfortunate he got drafted here and he was behind me for a while. But he’s going to be a great addition to Cleveland. They’re going to love him up there. He’s a very skilled athlete, and I’m looking for big things from him.”
Foster, who plays a draft prospect in Draft Day, entered the NFL in 2009 when he signed with the Texans as an undrafted rookie. The Texans drafted Tate in the second round of the 2010 draft, but he missed his entire rookie season with a broken ankle.To read more or comment...
As the 2014 NFL Draft approaches, prospects are visiting and working out for teams. Below is a list of prospects known to have meetings set up with the Browns. Each team is allowed to host 30 national prospects until a week before the draft, which runs May 8-10.
The list below was originally published March 28 and most recently updated April 29.
Wisconsin running back James White (workout) -- NFLDraftScout.com projection: Fifth-round pick.
South Carolina QB Connor Shaw (visit and workout) -- NFLDraftScout.com projection: Seventh-round pick or priority free agent.
Lindenwood CB Pierre Desir (workout) -- NFLDraftScout.com projection: Third-round pick.To read more or comment...
The Browns’ nationwide tour of pre-draft workouts with quarterback prospects is on the verge heating up.
The team is scheduled to conduct a private workout Monday with Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, a league source confirmed this afternoon. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the Browns aren’t revealing the itinerary for the journey on which they’ll embark.
Browns coach Mike Pettine revealed earlier this week at the NFL owners meetings that the organization would conduct private workouts with several quarterbacks, including Carr, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. Pettine called it a “big list” and explained the only workouts that had been scheduled as of Tuesday were with quarterbacks.
Private workouts must be held at the prospect’s school or near his hometown. Pettine also said the Browns would host the big-name quarterbacks and several others for pre-draft visits at the team’s headquarters in Berea. Prospects can be interviewed and medically examined during those visits, but they can’t work out. Each team is permitted to host 30 prospects.To read more or comment...
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh insists he wasn’t tempted to join the Browns when they made a stunning attempt to trade for him in January.
“[There was] zero opportunity to go there in my mind,” Harbaugh said this morning at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla. “If that opportunity existed, then it existed in somebody else’s mind, not my own. That was my response to it. Another mini-controversy. I’ve been there before, and I give [controversies] the attention that they deserve, which is very little.”
When the 49ers’ season ended Jan. 19 with a loss in the NFC title game against the eventual Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks, the Browns were still in the midst of their search to replace coach Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after he went 4-12 during his lone season on the job. Before the franchise’s 25-day quest ended with the hiring of coach Mike Pettine on Jan. 23, the Browns made a pitch for Harbaugh.
ProFootballTalk.com reported a deal in which the Browns would have sent multiple draft picks to the 49ers was in place, but Harbaugh ultimately decided not to leave San Francisco. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported a first-round pick was not included in the offer.To read more or comment...
The Cleveland Browns currently have the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. But what happens if they don't go with a signal caller at No. 4?
On today's podcast, Browns beat writer Nate Ulrich breaks down why quarterback may not be the choice after speaking with head coach Mike Pettine at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando and who may be in play for Cleveland.
We want to hear from you. If the Browns don't take a quarterback with No. 4, who should they take? Fill out our poll below and let us know in the comments who you want.To read more or comment...
Browns coach Mike Pettine made it clear the franchise will draft at least one quarterback in May.
So what’s the likelihood a rookie quarterback would start ahead of incumbent Brian Hoyer next season?
“It’s a possibility,” Pettine said this morning during the NFL owners meetings in Orlando Fla. “It’s hard till we get after the draft to see how that all plays out, to make that assessment. We have a long way to go between the first camp, the rookie camp, our OTAs and then there’s all the training camp. There’s a lot of football to be played with those guys. That, to me, is the great thing about competition. We’ll be confident that we’ll have the best guy. Those guys will compete, and we’ll start the best one.”
But just because Pettine concedes the Browns might start a rookie quarterback this year doesn’t mean they’ll pick one fourth overall.To read more or comment...
Beat writer Nate Ulrich is on today's podcast to talk the latest Cleveland Browns news direct from the NFL owners meetings in Orlando.
What the Browns are doing at quarterback, the team's pro day attendance and the signing of offensive lineman Paul McQuistan are among the talking points of today's podcast.
To read more or comment...
The Browns have agreed to contract terms with former Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Paul McQuistan, the team announced.
It's a two-year deal. ESPN's Adam Caplan reported the contract is worth $3 million with $750,000 guaranteed.
McQuistan, 30, entered the NFL as a third-round draft pick (69th overall) of the Oakland Raiders in 2006. He actually served as a backup for the Browns in 2010 but did not play. Since leaving the Browns for the Seahawks in 2011, he has shown versatility and started 40 of the 48 regular-season games in which he has appeared.
The 6-foot-6, 315-pound McQuistan started 14 games last season — nine at left tackle and five at left guard — for the Super Bowl champion Seahawks, though he came off the bench in the playoffs. In 2012, he tallied 16 starts — nine at right guard and seven at left guard. In 2011, he had 10 starts — three at left guard, three at right guard and four at left tackle.To read more or comment...
As the entire NFL tries to figure out whether the Browns will draft a quarterback fourth overall on May 8, General Manager Ray Farmer insists he’s “not leaning in any direction.”
The decision, of course, will be influenced to some degree by the organization’s opinion of quarterback Brian Hoyer. A North Olmsted native and St. Ignatius High School graduate, Hoyer led the Browns to back-to-back wins in September before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Oct. 3. So far, he has rebounded well from the injury, but with only four regular-season starts in his career, there is a lot of unknown with Hoyer.
How comfortable would Farmer be with Hoyer, 28, heading into next season?To read more or comment...
The Browns expressed some interest in creating a reunion between their new offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, and Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, but the Oakland Raiders have a different plan in mind.
The Raiders want Schaub even more than the Browns, and Oakland is expected to trade a late-round draft pick for him, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported this morning.
Schaub, 32, became expendable when the Texans signed former Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year contract on Thursday. Schaub has a $14.5 million salary-cap figure, and he’s scheduled to make a base salary of $10 million next season, plus another $1 million in roster bonuses.
Schaub, a two-time Pro Bowler, lost his starting job last season. He went 2-6 and threw 10 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. His career record as a starter is 46-44.To read more or comment...
The Browns and the Green Bay Packers met with Missouri defensive end Michael Sam following his workout at his pro day this afternoon, ESPN’s Shelley Smith reported on NFL Insiders.
Sam is famous because he’s the first openly gay NFL Draft prospect. But Sam, the Southeastern Conference’s co-defensive player of the year last season, is trying to draw attention for what he can bring teams on the field.
“I just wish you guys would just see me as Michael Sam the football player instead of Michael Sam the gay football player,” Sam said last month at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
After running the 40-yard dash in an official time of 4.91 seconds at the combine, Sam had a better showing at his pro day. According to NFLDraftScout.com, he posted an unofficial time of 4.73 seconds today on one attempt. A strained right hamstring kept him from running the 40 a second time.To read more or comment...
The Browns cut quarterback Jason Campbell last week, but he’ll continue his NFL career in Ohio. He’ll also stay in the AFC North, which assures him two matchups against the Browns next season.
Campbell struck an agreement on a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported tonight. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed.
The Browns released Campbell and fellow quarterback Brandon Weeden on March 12, when Campbell was due a $250,000 roster bonus. Campbell was scheduled to make a base salary of $3 million next season until the Browns severed ties with him. Weeden signed a two-year, $1.23 million deal with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday after he reportedly spoke to the Baltimore Ravens and Bengals.
Last year, Campbell signed a two-year deal with the Browns as an unrestricted free agent. He began the 2013 season as a backup, but Brian Hoyer’s season-ending knee injury and Weeden’s poor performances led to Campbell being thrust into the starting lineup in Week 8.To read more or comment...
The Browns brought former Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Paul McQuistan and former Buffalo Bills defensive end Alex Carrington to town for free-agent visits today, a team spokesman said.
Both players would be in line for significant roles if they sign with the Browns.
McQuistan, 30, entered the NFL as a third-round draft pick (No. 69 overall) of the Oakland Raiders in 2006, and he actually served as a backup for the Browns in 2010 but did not play. Since leaving the Browns for the Seahawks in 2011, he has shown versatility and started 40 of the 48 regular-season games in which he has appeared.
The 6-foot-6, 315-pound McQuistan started 14 games last season -- nine at left tackle and five at left guard -- for the Super Bowl champion Seahawks. In 2012, he tallied 16 starts -- nine at right guard and seven at left guard. In 2011, he had 10 starts -- three at left guard, three at right guard and four at left tackle.To read more or comment...
The Browns need a starting guard, and they have yet to address the position through the first week of free agency.
Of course, they also have 10 picks in May’s draft and could use one of them to fill the void.
Clemson’s Brandon Thomas is a potential target. The Browns have conducted an individual worked out with Thomas, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net reported today.
The 6-foot-3, 317-pound Thomas became Clemson’s starting left tackle as a junior in 2012, but he played guard and tackle earlier in his career. NFLDraftScout.com projects him as a guard in the NFL and a second- or third-round pick.To read more or comment...
New Browns General Manager Ray Farmer believes he has added players this offseason "that will continue to push in the direction we want this team to go."
Former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins is the sixth player Farmer and the Browns have added since free agency began March 11. The move became official today when the Bengals declined to match the four-year, $13.6 million offer sheet Hawkins signed with the Browns last week.
The other free-agent acquisitions are strong safety Donte Whitner, inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, cornerback Isaiah Trufant, running back Ben Tate and tight end Jim Dray.
Hawkins is expected to become the team's primary slot receiver. Whitner, Dansby and Tate are projected starters. Trufant is a backup and special-teams contributor. Dray will likely compete with Gary Barnidge for the No. 2 tight end spot behind Pro Bowler Jordan Cameron.To read more or comment...
The Browns prevailed today in the Battle of Ohio for ex-Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins.
The Browns signed Hawkins, who was a restricted free agent, to a four-year, $13.6 million offer sheet last week. The offer sheet was submitted to the Bengals Thursday, so they were given five days to match it.
The Bengals’ deadline wasn’t until midnight today, but they announced at 3:46 p.m. via Twitter that they won't match the Browns’ offer. With Hawkins joining the Browns, he’ll be penciled in as their primary slot receiver. The move allowed the Browns to fill a major need and weaken an AFC North rival in one fell swoop.
It'll also give Hawkins' career a sense of symmetry. He went to rookie minicamp with the Browns in 2008, but he didn’t receive a contract and fought for the next few years en route to earning his big break in the NFL.To read more or comment...
A devastating knee injury and off-field issues derailed Aaron Berry’s career, but he’s trying to get it back on track.
Perhaps his comeback will unfold with the Browns.
Berry, an unrestricted free agent and former New York Jets cornerback, visited the Browns on Monday, the New York Post reported. Berry played for new Browns coach Mike Pettine in 2012, when Pettine was in his fourth and final season as the defensive coordinator of the Jets.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Berry hasn’t played in an NFL game since his time with Pettine. Berry, 25, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last July during a training camp practice and missed the entire 2013 season as a result.To read more or comment...
The Browns have plenty of needs to address this offseason, but those holes are not limited to the roster.
The organization has yet to name a lead physician after ending its 38-year partnership with the Cleveland Clinic and forging a new relationship with University Hospitals that netted a sponsorship deal reportedly worth about $30 million over 10 years. The change in official health care partners was first reported in December by ESPNCleveland.com and formally announced by the Browns in January.
Dr. David Chao, who spent 17 seasons as the San Diego Chargers’ team physician before stepping down in June, criticized the Browns in a column he wrote for NationalFootballPost.com that was published today.
Chao acknowledged that the Browns had doctors at the NFL Scouting Combine last month in Indianapolis. But he also noted that they did not have a lead physician or a complete medical staff in place for the combine. He wrote that the doctors sent by the team were not admitted to all combine-related functions.To read more or comment...
Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden has signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports.
According to Rapoport, Weeden signed for the league minimum salary and the Browns still owe him $2.1 million in guarantees.
The Browns took Weeden with the 22nd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. In two seasons, Weeden played in 23 regular season games, completing 55.9 percent of his passes for 5,116 yards, 23 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.
Before signing with Dallas, Weeden also spoke with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals, Rapoport noted.To read more or comment...
Former Browns backup offensive lineman Oniel Cousins signed a one-year contract today as an unrestricted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Cousins, 29, will reunite with Buccaneers offensive line coach George Warhop, who held the same job with the Browns from 2009-13. Cousins wasn’t expected to return to the Browns.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Cousins spent the past three seasons with the Browns. He has been a backup right tackle for the vast majority of his career, but he started four games at right guard last season because Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston were sidelined with ankle injuries. ProFootballFocus.com ranked Cousins 71st out of 81 NFL guards last season.
The Browns claimed Cousins off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens in 2011. Cousins, a third-round draft pick of the Ravens in 2008, has started nine of the 60 games in which he has appeared during his six-year career.To read more or comment...
The Browns filled a major need today by signing free-agent running back Ben Tate. The team announced the move via Twitter.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter, citing an unnamed source, first reported that Tate received a two-year deal. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the two-year contract is worth about $7 million.
Tate visited the Browns on Thursday and on Friday before finally striking a deal this afternoon. He’ll be expected to become the team’s featured back next season.
"Let's do this Cleveland!! #DawgPound," Tate tweeted after the news broke.To read more or comment...
Houston Texans free-agent running back Ben Tate is in town tonight visiting the Browns, a Browns spokesman confirmed.
If Tate strikes a deal with the Browns, he could become their featured back next season. The Browns could also draft a running back in May.
Tate, 25, has been linked to the Browns since September, when the organization traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for first-round pick in the 2014 draft. He is considered a good fit for new Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's running game, which is predicated on a zone-blocking scheme.
Last season, Tate started seven of the 14 games in which he appeared. He sat out the final two games with cracked ribs.To read more or comment...
The Browns signed former Arizona Cardinals tight end Jim Dray as an unrestricted free agent today, the team announced.
Dray, 27, spent the past four seasons with the Cardinals. Last season, he started 15 games and tallied career highs with 26 catches, 215 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
ProFootballFocus.com ranked Dray 62nd out of 64 tight ends last season. He did not drop a pass, according to the website, but it gave him negative grades as a receiver and in run blocking and pass protection.
In 2010, the Cardinals drafted the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Dray in the seventh round out of Stanford University. He has started 18 of the 55 games in which he has appeared, compiling 33 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns.To read more or comment...
Cincinnati Bengals restricted free-agent wide receiver Andrew Hawkins has signed an offer sheet with the Browns, so the Bengals have five days to match it.
NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported today that the Bengals are now unlikely to match the offer after rethinking their position.
Apparently, the Bengals have changed their minds a few times.
When Hawkins originally agreed to the deal with the Browns Tuesday night, NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala reported a Bengals source said the team wasn’t likely to match the offer. Then on Wednesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Bengals planned to match the offer after all. This afternoon, Breer reported the structure of the offer sheet has caused the Bengals to flip-flop again.To read more or comment...
The Browns are making a "strong push" to sign New England Patriots free-agent wide receiver Julian Edelman, Michael Giardi of CSNNE.com reported today.
The Browns need to add a couple of receivers – a No. 2 and a slot – to the mix with All-Pro Josh Gordon. They could address the position during May's draft, but they're obviously looking at free agents, too. The organization agreed to an offer sheet with restricted free-agent slot receiver Andrew Hawkins Tuesday, but the Cincinnati Bengals reportedly plan to match the offer.
Edelman, who played quarterback for Kent State University, would certainly fill the void in the slot created by the departure of Davone Bess, whose off-field issues led to the Browns cutting him last week. Edelman also returns punts, something Bess did last year for the Browns along with Travis Benjamin, who suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate in his right knee Oct. 27.
Last season, Edelman became the go-to target of quarterback Tom Brady and led the Patriots with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. Brady even nicknamed the 5-foot-10, 198-pound Edelman "Minitron."To read more or comment...
The Browns introduced three free-agent signees today at their headquarters: inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, strong safety Donte Whitner and cornerback Isaiah Trufant. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
GM Ray Farmer:“We’d definitely like to stay on course with what our plans are in free agency, of adding the right kind of guys to this team to demonstrate the type of toughness, leadership and consistency in play that we’re looking for. There are three guys standing off to my right in Donte Whitner, one of Ohio’s own; Karlos Dansby, coming to us from the Arizona Cardinals; and Isaiah Trufant coming to us from the Jets.
“Now, I’m going to excuse myself because there is more work to be done.”
On how special it is returning to Cleveland:To read more or comment...
The Browns announced today that they signed inside linebacker Karlos Dansby and strong safety Donte Whitner. Here is the news release from the team:
BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns on Wednesday signed two unrestricted free agents, linebacker Karlos Dansby and defensive back Donte Whitner.
The additions give Cleveland a pair of veteran leaders coming off respective All-Pro and Pro Bowl seasons, bolstering a Browns defense that ranked No. 9 in the NFL last season. Dansby and Whitner represent the first two players signed by the Browns in the new league year.
“I’d like to welcome these players to Cleveland,” said General Manager Ray Farmer. “Our goal is to assemble comprehensive units on both sides of the ball that can compete for a championship. Winning is a shared charge and we want players with a shared mission: Turning this team and this town around. Another pillar in our culture is that every player we identify and acquire will have the ability to compete for a starting role.”
“Both of these guys are a great fit for what we like to do,” said Head Coach Mike Pettine. “Donte grew up right here in Cleveland and he knows what style of football we play in our division. He’s an explosive hitter, a tone-setter with a history of production. Karlos is a durable, dependable professional who makes guys around him better. He’s a rangy linebacker who can cover and play three downs. He’s an intellectual leader, a QB in a defense, and I’m sure he’ll know our system inside, outside and backward. We want to be the toughest team on the field and these players both embody that.”To read more or comment...
The Browns have cut quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell today, the team announced.
The moves were not surprises.
“First and foremost, the Browns would like to thank Brandon and his agent for being true professionals,” Browns General Manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. “The circumstances in which he found himself were not easy for him or the team. After discussions with Brandon and his agent, we’d like to give him the ability to pursue other opportunities.
“We appreciate Jason’s contributions to the Browns in 2013. He’s a respected veteran player in this league. We felt like at this time, early in the free-agency period, we would give him a better opportunity to move forward. We wish Jason the best in his future endeavors.”To read more or comment...
When new Browns coach Mike Pettine was the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills last year, defensive end Alex Carrington earned a job in training camp as one of Pettine’s starters.
Carrington, though, suffered a torn quadriceps muscle in Week 3 and was sidelined for the rest of the season. He was in the final year of his rookie contract with the Bills, who drafted him in the third round (72nd overall) out of Arkansas State University in 2010.
Despite the setback, there is still a possibility that Carrington, 26, could play a significant role for Pettine. As an unrestricted free agent, Carrington is receiving strong interest from the Browns and the St. Louis Rams, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported today.
The 6-foot-5, 301-pound Carrington compiled 10 tackles and started each of the three games in which he appeared last season. He had his most productive season in 2012, when he played in all 16 games as a backup and compiled 19 tackles, including two sacks, three passes defensed, a forced fumble, three blocked field goals and a blocked extra-point attempt.To read more or comment...
Browns quarterback Jason Campbell will soon find out whether his future will be in Cleveland.
Campbell is due a $250,000 roster bonus Thursday, according to ProFootballTalk.com, and he’s scheduled to make a base salary of $3 million next season. The Browns obviously could avoid paying the roster bonus by parting ways with Campbell, 32, and such a move would not be a surprise.
“Right now, I'm just anxious to know what the Browns are going to do,” Campbell told ESPN’s Josina Anderson today. “If I'm going to be back, I'd like to be able to prepare for that. If I'm not returning, my agent can get to work on my next move.”
Last year, Campbell signed a two-year deal with the Browns as an unrestricted free agent. He began the 2013 season as a backup, but injuries and poor performance thrust him into the starting lineup. He went 1-7 as a starter, completing 180-of-317 passes (56.8 percent) for 2,015 yards and 11 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He posted a passer rating of 76.9.To read more or comment...
Houston Texans free-agent running back Ben Tate is visiting the Browns today, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported this morning.
A Browns spokesman, though, said the team would not confirm that the visit is taking place. Browns General Manager Ray Farmer's policy is to confirm when a free agent is in town, the spokesman said.
Regardless, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Browns are the leader to sign Tate.
If Tate strikes a deal with the Browns, he could become their featured back next season. The Browns could also draft a running back in May.To read more or comment...
The Browns must continue to hunt for a slot receiver because the Cincinnati Bengals plan to match the offer sheet on which Cleveland and restricted free agent Andrew Hawkins agreed Tuesday, according to reports.
Hawkins agreed to the four-year, $12.2 million offer sheet, which includes more than $4 million guaranteed, he received from the Browns. But because Hawkins is a restricted free agent, the Bengals have five days to match once he signs any offer sheet.
The Bengals tendered Hawkins for $1.45 million. A Bengals source told NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala Tuesday night that the organization wasn’t likely to match the Browns’ offer.
However, that’s not the case because the Bengals do plan to match the offer after all, NFL Network’s Albert Breer and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported this morning.To read more or comment...
The Browns have agreed to contract terms with former New York Jets cornerback Isaiah Trufant.
Agent Doug Hendrickson announced the news on Twitter early this morning. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
Trufant, 31, is a backup corner and special-teams player with ties to new Browns coach Mike Pettine. From 2009-12, Pettine served as the Jets’ defensive coordinator, and Trufant was with the team for three of those years.
Last season, Trufant played all 16 games for the first time in his career and compiled 20 tackles. He has played 193 defensive snaps in the past two seasons.To read more or comment...
The Browns reached an agreement with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver and restricted free agent Andrew Hawkins on an offer sheet for a four-year contract, a league source told the Beacon Journal tonight, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
Once Hawkins signs the offer sheet, the Bengals will have the right to match it within five days because he’s a restricted free agent. If the Bengals choose to not match the offer, Hawkins would leave Cincinnati without the Browns being required to give any compensation in return.
The Browns need a slot receiver to replace Davone Bess, who was cut last week, and Hawkins fits the description.
The 5-foot-7, 180-pound Hawkins played in just eight games last year because a high-ankle sprain kept him sidelined for half of the season. He tallied 12 catches for 199 yards. In 2012, he compiled 51 catches for 533 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games. During his first season with the Bengals in 2011, he had 23 catches for 263 yards.To read more or comment...
Armed with $49 million in salary-cap space heading into NFL free agency, the Browns kicked off the signing period this afternoon by agreeing to contract terms with former Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Karlos Dansby and former San Francisco 49ers strong safety Donte Whitner, ESPN reported.
Dansby received a four-year deal worth $24 million, including $14 million guaranteed, the Arizona Republic reported. He’s scheduled to make $10 million in 2014. Whitner, a Cleveland native and two-time Pro Bowler, agreed to a four-year deal worth $28 million, according to ESPN.
The Browns have yet to announce the moves, but Whitner hasn’t been shy about discussing the news.
“I must now embark on my intended journey and become a Cleveland Brown,” Whitner wrote on Twitter. “A place that's very dear to my heart! I look forward to winning and building something in Cleveland that WILL NOT be forgotten! I also look forward to helping build back my community and watching it flourish.To read more or comment...
With NFL free agency set to begin at 4 p.m. today, rumors and reports about the Browns have been furiously swirling.
The Browns have $49 million in salary-cap space, a new front office led by General Manager Ray Farmer, a new coaching staff led by Mike Pettine and plenty of needs to address before the draft, which will run May 8-10.
All of those factors suggest the Browns will be aggressive in free agency. NFL Network knows this and has deployed a reporter to the team’s headquarters in Berea to ensure a robust flow of information about the Browns.
Here is a roundup of the rumblings that have recently surfaced about the Browns:To read more or comment...
On the eve of free agency, the Browns are hunting for a safety.
Unless the Browns can re-sign Pro Bowl strong safety T.J. Ward, one of their top missions will be to replace him. Ward, 27, is on the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent when the market opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday, and the Browns are one of about a dozen teams reportedly interested in him.
Buffalo Bills three-time Pro Bowler Jairus Byrd and San Francisco 49ers two-time Pro Bowler Donte Whitner are among the top safeties the Browns seem poised to pursue.
The Browns, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams are interested in signing Byrd, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported. Byrd, 27, spent last season with new Browns coach Mike Pettine, who served as the Bills’ defensive coordinator for one year. Byrd is seeking a long-term deal worth about $9 million a year, ESPN.com's James Walker reported.To read more or comment...
The Browns fired director of player engagement Aaron Shea tonight, a team spokesman confirmed.
Shea, who spent the past three years in the role and worked for another three years as a sales associate in suite operations, announced his dismissal via Twitter.
“Browns nation my 9 lives have run out tonight,” Shea tweeted. “They fired me tonight and it has been a good run. Going to miss being around the guys!”
Shea played tight end for the Browns from 2000-05 after they drafted him in the fourth round out of the University of Michigan.
“The Browns would like to thank Aaron for his years of service to the team,” the spokesman said. “The organization is going to be moving in another direction with the player-engagement role.”To read more or comment...
Browns starting defensive end Desmond Bryant announced today via Twitter that he has received medical clearance to return to football after undergoing a cardiac ablation Dec. 6 at the Cleveland Clinic.
“Everybody has been asking about my health,” Bryant tweeted. “The doctor gave me full clearance, and I am currently preparing for a very successful 2014 season!”
Everybody has been asking about my health. The doctor gave me full clearance and I am currently preparing for a very successful 2014 season!
Asked about Bryant’s announcement, a team spokesman said, “He continues to make excellent strides toward a full recovery.”To read more or comment...
The Browns have struck a deal on a contract extension with kicker Billy Cundiff, the team confirmed this afternoon.
Cundiff will sign a one-year contract worth $1.02 million, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported today. Cundiff was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent when the market opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday, but the Browns have secured his services for another season.
Cundiff, 33, played all 16 games last season as Phil Dawson’s replacement. Dawson spent 14 seasons with the Browns before the previous regime of former CEO Joe Banner and ex-General Manager Mike Lombardi let him walk in free agency. He signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
Last season, Cundiff made 21-of-26 field goals (80.8 percent) with one blocked. He was 2-of-4 on attempts of 50 yards or longer. Cundiff missed his lone game-winning attempt, a 58-yard try Dec. 8 on the road against the New England Patriots. He made all 32 extra-point kicks.To read more or comment...
The Browns have extended a contract tender to inside linebacker Craig Robertson as an exclusive-rights free agent, a team spokesman confirmed.
Exclusive-rights free agents are players with fewer than three accrued seasons. They don’t have negotiating power and must stay with a team if they’re tendered.
So Robertson will return to the Browns for the 2014 season after serving as a full-time starter last year. According to the collective bargaining agreement, his salary for the upcoming season will be $570,000, and he’ll become a restricted free agent next year.
Robertson, 26, started the 14 games in which he appeared last season and missed the other two with a sprained knee. Despite ex-Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s hopes that Robertson would prove to be his “ace in the hole,” he struggled.To read more or comment...
Former Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson will reunite with former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski.
Jackson has agreed to contract terms with the Indianapolis Colts, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported this morning. It’s a four-year deal worth $22 million, including $11 million guaranteed, Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 reported.
“Welcome to the Colts, D'Qwell!” Colts owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter one minute after the news broke.
The Browns cut Jackson Feb. 26 after the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on a restructured contract. Jackson would have carried a $9.43 million salary-cap figure with the Browns next season, which included a $4 million roster bonus due March 16 and a $100,000 workout bonus.To read more or comment...
New Browns coach Mike Pettine raised eyebrows Monday night at the Cleveland Auto Show when he revealed that the Browns didn’t conduct a formal interview with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Well, actually, the Browns didn’t conduct formal interviews with any quarterbacks at the combine, Vic Carucci said. Carucci co-hosts the team’s radio show, Cleveland Browns Daily, with Nathan Zegura on ESPN-850 (WKNR). The Browns' lack of quarterback interviews at the combine was a topic during Tuesday's show.
The Browns plan to interview quarterbacks when they host them at their facility during pre-draft visits. They’ve opted to use that strategy because they feel many answers are rehearsed during the 15-minute formal interviews done at the combine. The Browns want genuine responses, and they believe that’s especially important with quarterbacks.
"I really want to find out from any player, who he is, how would he define himself?" new Browns General Manager Ray Farmer said at the combine. "What would he say is his core character makeup? What does he think of his opportunity to play in the National Football League? Is it a privilege? Is it an honor? Is it a right and how does he see himself impacting, not only his individual performance in the game, but how does he impact his teammates and what does he bring to the table that is going to demonstrate the other guys around him can have success? Football is probably the biggest team sport. And from that perspective, I need guys that understand the team concept and how to affect their teammates in a positive way."To read more or comment...
The Browns have a safety dilemma they’ll need to work through if they want to protect their defense’s chances of succeeding this year.
Browns Pro Bowl strong safety T.J. Ward is on the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent when the market opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday. His agent, Josh Arnold, told the Beacon Journal Tuesday that he began engaging in detailed contract discussions with the Browns last month at the NFL Scouting Combine and that he’s open to talking more despite no agreement being reached.
Meanwhile, Buffalo Bills three-time Pro Bowl free safety Jairus Byrd is also scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent Tuesday. Byrd spent this past season with new Browns coach Mike Pettine, who served as the Bills’ defensive coordinator for a year. During the combine, Pettine called Byrd an outstanding player and said he had a great time with him in Buffalo.
Ward and Byrd were second-round draft picks and teammates at the University of Oregon, but the possibility of them reuniting in the NFL is extremely remote because it doesn’t make sense for a team to devote a ton of money to the safety position.To read more or comment...
Alabama State running back Isaiah Crowell told the school’s official athletics website that the Browns have him on their pre-draft radar.
“I have talked with the Browns and the [Oakland] Raiders, and the [Baltimore] Ravens, I have talked to several times,” Crowell said.
NFLDraftScout.com projects Crowell as a fifth- or sixth-round pick. The 5-foot-11, 224-pound Crowell posted an official time of 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Crowell began his collegiate career at the University of Georgia. But he was arrested in 2012 for multiple felony weapon charges, which were dropped, and dismissed from the program.To read more or comment...
The Browns unveiled their important dates for this offseason today.
Because the Browns have a new head coach (again), they are able to conduct an extra veteran minicamp before the draft.
The key dates are listed below.
March 11: New league year begins at 4 p.m.
April 7: Offseason workouts begin.To read more or comment...
Less than a year after the Browns traded for wide receiver Davone Bess and signed him to a contract extension, he is no longer a member of the team.
The Browns announced they released Bess this morning, a move foreshadowed by off-field issues that manifested in his troubling behavior this offseason.
Bess, 28, missed the final two games of last season after leaving the team for personal reasons. The sad downward spiral of Bess has been well documented.
Bess was arrested in January at an airport in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and charged with assaulting an officer. The police report described him as irrational and likely on drugs. The next day, a photograph of Bess standing naked in front of a mirror was posted on his Twitter account. Also, the day before the arrest, a photograph of what appeared to be marijuana was posted on Bess’ Twitter account.To read more or comment...
Browns Pro Bowl strong safety T.J. Ward is scheduled to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent at 4 p.m. March 11.
The NFL’s deadline for teams to use franchise or transition tags passed at 4 p.m. Monday without Ward, 27, receiving one. It would’ve cost the Browns $8.4 million to franchise Ward or $7.2 million to make him a transition player.
Instead, the Browns placed a transition tag on Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, 28. The cost to transition Mack is $10.039 million, meaning he’ll become the highest paid center in the NFL if he plays under the tag.
The Browns have $56.9 million in salary-cap space, according to OverTheCap.com.To read more or comment...
New Browns coach Mike Pettine returned to Buffalo today, but he wasn’t there because of nostalgia.
Pettine, who spent last season as the defensive coordinator of the Bills, was on a business trip. He and new Browns defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil attended the University at Buffalo’s pro day this morning to watch standout linebacker Khalil Mack run for NFL scouts and decision makers.
Mack reportedly posted an unofficial time of 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash during the pro day workout. Last month, he tied for fourth among all linebackers at the NFL Scouting Combine with an official time of 4.65 seconds.
The Browns have the fourth overall pick in the May 8-10 draft. Although Mack is a projected top-10 pick, it would a major surprise if the Browns picked him at No. 4.To read more or comment...
The Browns announced today that they’re not raising season-ticket prices this year.
Below is some information from the team.
*Season-ticket deposits are up by approximately 100 percent over last year’s totals at this time.
*Sixth consecutive year that Browns season-ticket prices remain level.
*The Browns are believed to be one of very few NFL teams, and among a handful in professional sports, to have kept prices stable since 2009.To read more or comment...
The Browns have placed a transition tag on Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, the team announced this afternoon.
ESPN first reported the move. The NFL’s deadline to tag players passed at 4 p.m. today.
By placing a transition tag on Mack, the Browns can lock him into a one-year contract for $10.039 million.
Other teams can offer Mack a contract once free agency begins at 4 p.m. March 11, but the Browns would have five days to match it. If the Browns elect not to match an offer, they would not receive any draft-pick compensation in return for letting Mack walk.To read more or comment...