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.
The Browns need a starting guard to pair with John Greco, who held the top spot on the depth chart at left guard last season. Their starting right guard from the past three seasons, Shawn Lauvao, signed with the Washington Redskins this offseason. They also might want an upgrade over starting right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.
So do they view McQuistan, a Weber State University product, as a guard or a tackle?
“He has versatility,” Browns GM Ray Farmer said this morning at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla. “The guy played a lot of tackle last year. He’s played guard. The versatility is definitely intriguing and positive for us and it can make our minds rest easy in a lot of respects where he can possibly contribute. So that versatility is what we’re more focused on than any one specific spot saying he’s going to be this.”
ProFootballFocus.com’s rankings suggest McQuistan has struggled while playing tackle but has been respectable as a guard.
Last season, he finished 71st out of 76 offensive tackles in PFF’s rankings. The website did not include him in its rankings for guards last year. However, he finished 57th out of 81 guards in 2012 and 45th out of 78 guards in 2011.
McQuistan’s twin brother, Pat, was a seventh-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2006 and spent time last season with the Tennessee Titans.
McQuistan and Buffalo Bills free-agent defensive end Alex Carrington visited the Browns on Wednesday.
During an interview this morning with beat writers from Northeast Ohio, Farmer was asked directly where the team stood with the two players.
“I will remain silent on that for the moment, but we’ll see,” Farmer said after he paused for about five seconds. “We’ll see.”