The Browns are turning to Adarius Taylor for much-needed help at linebacker, agreeing Wednesday afternoon to a two-year, $5 million contract with the impending unrestricted free agent who spent the past four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a person familiar with the deal confirmed.
Contracts cannot be signed until free agency begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but the deal includes $2.55 million guaranteed, the source said.
Taylor, 28, started 16 of the 60 regular-season games in which he has appeared, racking up 116 tackles, two sacks, six passes defensed, an interception, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
He received the most significant playing time of his career last year, when he started 10 of his 15 games, with all but one of those starts coming after Pro Bowl linebacker Kwon Alexander suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on Oct. 21 against the Browns. Taylor finished the season with 60 tackles, a sack, five passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble.
Taylor, 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, has connections to the Browns, who cut starting outside linebacker Jamie Collins last week and have incumbent starting linebackers Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey.
Taylor entered the NFL in 2014 when he signed with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent from Florida Atlantic. At the time, new Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was the defensive backs coach for the Panthers, and new Browns defensive run game coordinator/linebackers coach Al Holcomb was the linebackers coach for Carolina.
The Bucs signed Taylor off the Panthers' practice squad in 2015.