A former Minnesota Vikings defensive end? Check. Wasn't expected to return to Minnesota this year? Check. A person who could step in and be the team's starter? Check. His name? It's not Ray Edwards.
According to Pro Football Weekly, the Cleveland Browns have re-signed defensive end Jayme Mitchell to a two-year deal. The Browns acquired Mitchell via a trade with the Minnesota Vikings last season, but he never saw the field under Eric Mangini. General manager Tom Heckert praised Mitchell as the team's best pass rusher after the season concluded, stating that he didn't understand why Mangini never played him.
The Browns made no effort to keep their interest in retaining Mitchell secret. In fact, during the offseason, they specifically seemed to go out of their way to make it clear that they wanted Mitchell back. It sounds like the staff has confidence that Mitchell can step in and start, perhaps with the same type of effectiveness they would have gotten out of Ray Edwards:
Mitchell said the "direction of the (Browns') program" and the interest they showed in him were factors in his decision. Mitchell will play left defensive end in the Browns' new 4-3 scheme, he said.
Hopefully this low investment, high potential player pays dividends, otherwise the team will be one player short in the defensive line department this season.