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Day One Splash Involves Mr. Steinbach

On March 11, 2006, the first day of free agency last year, the Browns signed center LeCharles Bentley to a large deal, as you can see in this post. We also signed offensive tackle Kevin Shaffer and wide receiver Joe Jurevicius on day one. This year, we only came to terms with one player on day one, but the excitement is just as extensive.

As reported earlier, the Browns signed offensive guard Eric Steinbach to a seven-year deal worth $49 million. Compare that to the Buffalo Bills, who signed a slightly lower rated lineman, Derrick Dockery, to a seven-year deal worth $49 million. Steinbach was a great signing, and after we were not able to get cornerback Nate Clements or linebacker Adalius Thomas, the No. 2 person on my free agent list is still available: Kris Dielman. The Bills signed three offensive linemen in one day, but if the Browns were able to lock up Dielman tomorrow, it would be absolutely incredible. We can't get our hopes up too high though, because I'm sure that the Seattle Seahawks made him a quality offer before his visit with the Browns.

"Obviously I'm excited," Steinbach, 26, said Friday night after having dinner downtown with the Browns coaching staff. "This is my first visit and I kind of had a gut feeling. As soon as I sat down and talked to the coaches and the personnel people up in the front office, I knew this was the right place for me."
- Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Steinbach passed up on an opportunity to play with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at tackle.
"I chose to come here first, I liked what I saw, I liked the feeling and obviously it was an easy decision," said Steinbach (6-6, 290). "We haven't talked yet about whether I'll play guard or tackle here, but I'm open to whatever ideas they have for me."

"We're very excited to have him," said coach Romeo Crennel. "We think he can really help us."
- Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Now, don't forget to visit our fellow Sports Blogs Nation NFL affiliates for all of the latest news and rumors surrounding other big free agent signings.
  • Niner's Nation for information on the team that made a huge splash on defensive players by locking up Clements and safety Michael Lewis.
  • Hog's Haven has the scoop on the team signing former Bills linebacker London Fletcher.
  • Pride of Detroit tells you about the trading of cornerback Dre Bly, as well as the trading of defensive end James Hall.
  • Mile High Report knows the real deal on what is going on with quarterback Jake Plummer. Along the way, check out Buc'em's reaction on losing out on Plummer and Steinbach.
On Saturday, I look for a few of the lower-key type signings for the Browns, which would include a veteran cornerback and a defensive end. According to the Plain Dealer, the Browns have scheduled a visit with Eagles cornerback Rod Hood, who has been a nickelback looking to move into a starting role. The Browns will supposedly try to get him under contract tomorrow, before he is able to visit with the Arizona Cardinals or any other team. The Browns could also sign Texans outside linebacker Antwan Peek, who was in Cleveland today and reportedly close to signing. The Browns will also reportedly meet with Bengals backup defensive tackle Shaun Smith, who is a restricted free agent. Although he is restricted, if the Browns signed him, he would not require any compensation.