In a statement released today, Browns General Manager Ray Farmer said the team has added players “that will continue to push in the direction we want this team to go.”
“Free agency is well under way. We’ve added several players to the roster that will continue to push in the direction we want this team to go. A couple key things to keep in mind: What we’re doing is finding talented players that can be good starters in this league, and guys that can compete to push those guys that end up being the starters. Since we last talked about the state of our roster, we’ve added Jim Dray, Ben Tate and now Andrew Hawkins – all offensive guys who we think can help advance our mission. These acquisitions are about steadying our ship and moving Cleveland closer to competing in our division and competing for championships.”
The team seemed focused on filling roster holes early in free agency. After cutting ILB D’Qwell Jackson and letting SS TJ Ward walk in free agency veterans LB Karlos Dansby and SS Donte Whitner. The team also got ERFA WR Andrew Hawkins to sign offer sheet, which the Bengals today decided not to match, to fill the slot position created by cutting troubled WR Davone Bess. The team also signed CB/ST Isaiah Trufant.
The big splash however, came when the Browns spent three days negotiating with RB Ben Tate. Tate has been tied to the Browns going back as early as last pre-season. The Browns went about the Tate deal the right way; they kept him in town throughout the process, and worked out an incredibly good contract.
“Like Coach [Mike Pettine] has articulated, we want guys that play like Browns, and we feel like every player we’ve added in free agency embodies the characteristics we want: Passion, toughness, relentlessness, competitiveness, accountability and productivity.” Farmer said.
So where do the Browns go from here? I’ve got some targets I think the Browns will show some interest in.
CB Aaron Berry
The Browns have already met with Aaron Berry once, and I’ve heard there is still interest there. Berry came in to the league as an undrafted free agent, but earned decent playing time in New York under then DC Mike Pettine. Berry has had some injury issues (he tore his ACL last year), but if healthy he does have starting potential.
DE/DL Alex Carrington
Carrington got to Cleveland last night, and is expected to meet with the team this morning. He played last year on the Bills under Coach Pettine. The thing I like about Carrington is his versatility. He can play any spot on the line, and potentially OLB if needed.
QB Rex Grossman
The Browns have been rumored for weeks to be in talks with the Texans to acquire Matt Schaub. At the end of the day, I think the Browns will balk at Schaub’s massive base salary of 14.5 million dollars. That we’ve been in a position to get Rex Grossman for a fairly cheap price. While I highly doubt that Grossman will be viewed as a legitimate competitor for the starting job against Brian Hoyer, He will give you a veteran mentor to help teach Shanahan’s offensive scheme.
LB Arthur Moats
Moats has been a rumored Browns target since the day Mike Pettine was hired. He was at the core of Pettine’s defense in Buffalo, and is a solid inside linebacker who can disrupt an offense. I’ve heard some reports go as far as to say a deal has already been mapped out between the Browns and Moats, but I find that unlikely, as it likely would have been signed already this late in free agency. That said, I feel like Moats is a probable signing at some point this off-season.
Shawn is the Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer for Dawg Pound Nation. He’s also an Army Sergeant, married to the beautiful and brilliant @MrsStarr, dad to three and aspiring Browns Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @ShawnMStarr or @DawgPoundNews, as well as on the Dawg Pound Nation Facebook Page.