By Nate Ulrich
The Browns signed former Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins cornerback Kevin Barnes to a one-year contract Monday, adding depth to a secondary still in need of support.
Barnes, whom the Redskins picked in the third round (No. 80 overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft, has started three of the 31 regular-season games in which he has appeared. He has compiled 45 career tackles, three interceptions and nine passes defensed.
The Redskins traded Barnes, 26, to the Lions on Aug. 27, 2012. He appeared in two games with the Lions before they waived him on Sept. 18. He sat out the remainder of this past season.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Barnes had his best season in 2011, when he served as the Redskins’ nickel corner. He appeared in 15 games and tallied career highs in tackles (26) and interceptions (two). According to the Browns, he also had six quarterback hurries, ranking third among all cornerbacks in the league.
Following his arrival in Detroit, Barnes told MLive.com he's more comfortable playing on the outside than covering slot receivers. The Browns signed former Atlanta Falcons nickel corner Chris Owens last week, and they view Barnes primarily as an outside corner.
Despite signing Barnes, the Browns remain in the market for a bona fide starting cornerback to pair with Joe Haden. Free-agent cornerback Brent Grimes, who spent the past six seasons with the Falcons, visited the Browns on March 16 and remains an option. Although the Browns are interested in Grimes, the Falcons would like to re-sign him, and he also visited the Miami Dolphins.
No deal yet
Free-agent outside linebacker Victor Butler wrapped up his visit with the Browns without a contract Monday and headed for the next stop along his offseason tour. Like Grimes, Butler is still a target of the Browns.
Butler, though, was set to start visiting the Philadelphia Eagles Monday night and continue to spend time with them Tuesday, a league source told the Beacon Journal, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Butler, 25, arrived in Northeast Ohio on Sunday and took a physical for the Browns on Monday, the source said. He also has reportedly visited the New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 6-2, 245-pound Butler spent the past four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and has tallied 11 sacks since being drafted in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) in 2009. Last season, Butler started one of the 16 games in which he appeared and compiled 25 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles.
Quarterback to visit
University of Arizona quarterback Matt Scott is set to visit the Browns April 9 or 10 after coming from a pre-draft visit with the Buffalo Bills, another league source told the Beacon Journal.
Scott has spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and also has plans to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to the Toronto Sun.
The 6-2, 213-pound Scott has the athletic skills needed to run the read-option offense, which Browns coach Rob Chudzinski used the past two seasons while serving as the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. NFLDraftScout.com projects Scott as a fourth- or fifth-round pick.
As a fifth-year senior last season, Scott started every game and completed 301-of-499 passes (60.3 percent) for 3,620 yards and 27 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. He then threw two touchdown passes in the final 42 seconds of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl to lead the Wildcats to a record of 8-5 and a 49-48 victory over Nevada.
In 2009, Scott won a quarterback competition against former teammate Nick Foles, who’s with the Eagles, and started the first three games of his sophomore season. However, Scott struggled and was demoted. He started only 17 games during his collegiate career.
Not in pursuit
The Browns have not contacted anyone about signing tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. despite his statement Monday on NFL Network’s NFL AM. Winslow said he has heard from the Browns, Jaguars and Oakland Raiders.
Winslow, whose career has been plagued by injuries, and Chudzinski spent time together at the University of Miami and in Cleveland while Chudzinski served as offensive coordinator during a previous stint. The Browns, though, aren’t pursuing a reunion with Winslow, whom Cleveland picked in the first round (No. 6 overall) of the 2004 draft.
The Browns signed tight ends Kellen Davis and Gary Barnidge this offseason. They consider Jordan Cameron the favorite to start at tight end with Davis and Barnidge providing depth.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.