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Browns host safety Bradley McDougald on free-agent visit

By Nate Ulrich Published: March 20, 2017

The Browns could turn to safety Bradley McDougald to address a dire need on their defense.

The organization recently hosted McDougald on a free-agent visit, a person familiar with the meeting confirmed Monday. ESPN first reported the rendezvous.

McDougald, a Columbus native, has been a full-time starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the past two seasons.

He started all 16 games last season and compiled 91 tackles, 10 passes defensed and two interceptions. He started 15 of the 16 games in which he appeared in 2015 and tallied 87 tackles, four passes defensed and two interceptions. He started five of his 15 games in 2014 and racked up 50 tackles, seven passes defensed and an interception.

The Buccaneers use their safeties interchangeably for the most part, but McDougald is more a free safety than a strong safety.

McDougald, 26, entered the NFL in 2013 when he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas. The Buccaneers claimed him off waivers from the Chiefs during the 2013 season.

He finished tied for 42nd among the 89 safeties ProFootballFocus.com ranked last season.

PFF also ranked McDougald 32nd on its list of the top-50 free agents. He was sixth among the safeties on the list.

The Browns pursued PFF's second-ranked safety in free agency, Tony Jefferson. But Jefferson told the Monday Morning Quarterback website he signed with the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago despite the Browns and New York Jets offering him $1.5 million more per season than the Ravens did.

The Browns aren't the only team to show interest in McDougald. He visited the Seattle Seahawks last week.

McDougald would be a backup for the Seahawks behind standout safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.

But with the Browns, McDougald would be counted on to start. The defense desperately needs stability at safety after starting five players there last season, one of whom, Jordan Poyer, signed with the Buffalo Bills two weeks ago.

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