All signs continue to point to Josh Cribbs soon leaving the Browns in free agency.
Since midnight, NFL teams have been allowed to negotiate with agents of players whose contracts are set to expire at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Teams have shown interest in Cribbs, but the Browns aren’t one of them, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported today.
As of 1:20 p.m. today, six teams have shown interest in Cribbs, a league source told the Beacon Journal.
Cribbs, a wide receiver and three-time Pro Bowl kick returner, made it clear Feb. 28 during an appearance at the Cleveland Auto Show he was not confident about his chances of returning to Cleveland.
“I want to play for the Browns,” said Cribbs, the second-longest tenured member of the Browns after kicker Phil Dawson, who’s also set to become a free agent. “I don’t want to play for another team. That whole process [stinks]. At the same time, I’m not optimistic that things are going in my favor as far as staying with the team. That’s just my take on things. A whole new regime coming in, me having to prove myself to this new regime off of the year that I didn’t really play any offense. It’s all about productivity and looking at that, the productivity in the offense, special teams was average. It doesn’t look good for me in their eyes.
“It’s a business, unfortunately. As much as I love the fans of Cleveland and the community, football is a business, and unfortunately there comes a time that we must part ways. Hopefully it happens at the end of my career but time will tell.”
Cribbs, 29, is one of 13 Browns players on the verge of becoming unrestricted free agents Tuesday. It would be a surprise if the Browns re-sign any of them.
Here are the Browns’ soon-to-be free agents:
Unrestricted free agents: Cornerback Sheldon Brown, wide receiver/returner Josh Cribbs, kicker Phil Dawson, linebacker Scott Fujita, punter Reggie Hodges, running back Brandon Jackson, quarterback Josh Johnson, linebacker Kaluka Maiava, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, defensive end Juqua Parker, tight end Alex Smith, safety Ray Ventrone and tight end Benjamin Watson.
Restricted free agents: Running back Chris Ogbonnaya and fullback Eddie Williams.
Exclusive rights free agents: Defensive end Auston English, wide receiver Jordan Norwood, defensive end Emmanuel Stephens and long snapper Christian Yount.