By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
ORLANDO, Fla.: Former Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Paul McQuistan couldn’t get off the bench as a member of the Browns in 2010, but now the franchise views him as a key addition and likely a projected starter.
The Browns and McQuistan agreed to terms on a two-year contract Monday. ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported the contract is worth $3 million with $750,000 guaranteed.
In 2006, the Oakland Raiders drafted McQuistan in the third round (69th overall) out of Weber State University. He was with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009 and then served as a backup for the Browns in 2010 but did not play. Since leaving the Browns for the Seahawks in 2011, he has started 40 of the 48 regular-season games in which he has appeared.
McQuistan, who’ll turn 31 on April 30, 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 had 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 right 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 the Browns view the 6-foot-6, 315-pound McQuistan as a guard or a tackle?
“He has versatility,” Browns General Manager Ray Farmer said Monday at the NFL owners meetings. “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 indicate that 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.
Carrington, 26, has yet to sign with another team, but he has reportedly visited the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders, too.
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.