The Browns bolstered their defensive line, retained a key member of their secondary and let another sign elsewhere without putting up a fight.
On Thursday, they signed former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Frostee Rucker, agreed to a deal with former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Juqua Parker and re-signed cornerback Dimitri Patterson. Meanwhile, Mike Adams, who started at free safety for the Browns in every game last season, joined the Denver Broncos.
Here’s a breakdown of the moves:
Starter in place
Rucker, 28, highlights the Browns’ list of recent transactions because he has built a reputation as a solid run stopper and he’ll immediately fill a starting spot at right end. He received a five-year, $21 million deal, which includes more than $8 million guaranteed, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Jayme Mitchell played right end last season for the Browns, but he was demoted. Emmanuel Stephens, who replaced Mitchell, suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in Week 12, allowing Mitchell to re-enter the starting lineup.
The 6-foot-3, 280-pound Rucker played mostly right end last season for the Bengals. He appeared in every game, starting the final 12, including one in the postseason. He had 46 tackles and four sacks.
“They approached me with pretty much giving me the keys to the car and telling me, ‘You’re the starting right end,’ ” Rucker said during a conference call. “I’m the oldest one on the defensive line now there, and they want me to help mature some of the young guys. I’m adding to an already productive group. I’m just excited.”
Rucker, a third-round draft pick (91st overall in 2006) from the University of Southern California, entered the NFL with a history of alleged transgressions against women. In 2006, Rucker was charged with spousal battery and vandalism stemming from his involvement in an August 2005 incident when he was still in college. He pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charges and has not been in legal trouble since.
Despite his past, Rucker said he is confident he’ll be able to serve as a leader and set a good example for the young defensive linemen he’ll play with in Cleveland.
“I’m at a good place in my life right now,” he said. “I’m not around any knuckleheads. I put those things behind me a long time ago. I’ve done numerous things in the community with charity and you just come to a point where you focus on your career and what’s important. I did that years back when I first got to Cincinnati.
“I’ve been going uphill since I’ve been in this league and never looked back. I’ve been maturing, and I can help [my new teammates] tremendously and make sure some of them don’t even get in the same situations.”
The Browns agreed to a one-year deal with Parker, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal. The deal is worth as much as $3 million, the NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reported.
Parker, 33, spent the past seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. Browns General Manager Tom Heckert was a member of the Eagles’ front office when they signed Parker in 2005, and coach Pat Shurmur was on the Eagles’ staff at the time.
Last season, the 6-2, 250-pound Parker played in 12 games and had 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks. From 2006-10, he had at least five sacks in every season with a high of eight in 2009.
With Rucker and Parker in the mix, the Browns might decide they want to part ways with Mitchell.
Patterson has re-signed with the Browns for three years, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal. The deal is worth $16 million, including $6 million guaranteed, Pro Football Talk reported.
Patterson, 28, joined the Browns as an unrestricted free agent Aug. 3, 2011.
Last season, he excelled as the team’s nickel corner and helped the defense rank second against the pass (184.9 yards allowed per game). The 5-10, 200-pound Patterson played 14 games, compiling 12 passes defensed and 26 tackles.
The Browns believe Patterson also has the ability to start on the outside if they need him to do so.
Former Browns free safety Mike Adams agreed to join the Denver Broncos, the Broncos announced.
Adams, who will turn 31 next week, spent the past five seasons with the Browns. He had 61 tackles and a team-high three interceptions.
Heckert said last week the Browns would like to retain Adams. But Adams announced on Twitter that the Browns never offered him a new deal.
The Browns could fill the void at their starting free safety spot by converting cornerback Sheldon Brown to the position, moving Usama Young or Eric Hagg, both or whom are better suited for strong safety, or acquiring someone else.
The Browns re-signed offensive lineman Oniel Cousins. The 6-4, 315-pound Cousins, 27, appeared in four games and started once at right tackle last season. … Browns defensive lineman Brian Schaefering, 28, signed his tender as an exclusive rights player. … Offensive lineman Artis Hicks, 33, who started three games at right tackle for the Browns last season, signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins, his agent, JR Rickert, announced.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.