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Cleveland Browns

Safety may visit

By Marla Ridenour Published: February 28, 2009

The Newark Star-Ledger reported that free agent safety James Butler was expected to fly to Cleveland Saturday after a visit with the St. Louis Rams.

Butler's agent, Carl Poston, told the Star-Ledger that he and the Rams were ''still a bit apart'' in negotiations for the four-year veteran who made the New York Giants' roster as an undrafted rookie from Georgia Tech in 2005. Poston told the newspaper that the Browns were next on Butler's radar and they had tentative plans to fly to Cleveland if a deal with the Rams could not be finalized.

Sean Jones, the Browns' starting strong safety the past four seasons, is an unrestricted free agent. Jones' agent Brian Mackler said he has spoken to new Browns general manager George Kokinis and ''we're going to wait and see.'' Mackler would not comment further.

Butler won the Giants' starting strong safety job in training camp in 2007. Butler's defensive coordinator the past two seasons was Steve Spagnuolo, the new Rams' coach.

"You know how it is with these things: sometimes it's tough to tell if you're 5 yards apart, 10 yards apart or whatever," Poston told the Star-Ledger about the Rams' negotiations. ''I don't think a deal will be struck today.''

Butler has not ruled out staying with the Giants.

"I think they want him back, but honestly they have bigger fish to fry right now,'' Poston told the Star-Ledger. ''We might wind up talking to them soon. We'll see."

Elsewhere, CBS Channel 4 in Denver reported that the Broncos have agreed to terms with Browns' free agent linebacker Andra Davis. Davis, 30, is reportedly slated to start next to D.J. Williams in the Broncos' new 3-4 defense.

A Browns' co-captain, Davis saw his playing time was reduced in 2007, when he was taken off the field on third down and shared snaps with Leon Williams. Then in the 2008 off-season, the Browns cut Davis' salary by about 40 percent and terminated the final two years of a $20 million contract he signed in 2005. He made a reported $1.675 million last year.

Jones, Davis and tight end Kellen Winslow, traded to Tampa Bay Friday, were among seven members of the 2008 Browns who had been with the team before ex-coach Romeo Crennel and ex-GM Phil Savage arrived in 2005. The others are Pro Bowl long snapper Ryan Pontbriand, offensive tackle Ryan Tucker, tight end Steve Heiden and kicker Phil Dawson.

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