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Cleveland Browns Free Agency Live Blog - Rumors, Signings, and More

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Our live blog and free agency tracker for the Cleveland Browns will be going all day long, so make sure you continue to refresh this page for the latest updates!

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[NOTE: Our live blog for Day 2 has continued here]

Free agency officially begins for the Cleveland Browns and the rest of the teams in the NFL at 4:00 PM ET. We've heard about plenty of rumors the past several days, but today is the day where we'll find out how many moves the Browns have up their sleeves with roughly $41 million in available cap space.

We will have all of the Browns-related coverage on free agency here at Dawgs By Nature throughout the day. We will have individual posts about each free agent signing that Cleveland makes, or any other relevant news.

This thread will act as a "live blog" of sorts, with brief but important updates about the latest rumors, signings, or trades involving Cleveland or other NFL teams. You should also use the comments section as your free agency open thread! (Newest updates will be at the top of the live blog below)

2015 Browns Free Agency Live Blog - Day 1

Note: Our Day 2 live blog for Wednesday can be found here.

9:48 PM: Another quick update: CB Perrish Cox is scheduled to visit the Browns on Thursday, per Rand Getlin.

9:46 PM: I've been watching the Cavs game for a bit. The only new information I've seen is a report that the Browns have shown some interest in CB Perrish Cox of the 49ers. Cox started 14 games with the 49ers last year, notching 5 interceptions.

8:52 PM: The Jets are officially getting CB Darrelle Revis, per his agent. It'll be Revis and CB Buster Skrine as the corners in New York.

8:38 PM: This video is priceless in relation to the NFL Network discussing one of the "fake Twitter account reports" as real news (FYI, TE Marcedes Lewis did not go to the Saints).

8:30 PM: Building on the rumors that the Browns tried to acquire QB Sam Bradford earlier today:

8:12 PM: The initial wave of moves in free agency are done. Now, we're in the phase where the remaining players are physically meeting with teams to gather interest in negotiate. The landscape of interest has changed based on what deals have taken place. For example, if TE Jordan Cameron thought he could go to Seattle before, he's not now with the Seahawks acquiring TE Jimmy Graham. Could he be back in Cleveland? Possibly, but we're not going to see it go down as "INSTANT" news. Nonetheless, we'll continue following all of the rumors we can here on the DBN live blog.

8:08 PM: We have a full breakdown of the moves the Browns have made on Day 1 of free agency, and how they've effected the team's available cap space:

Day 1 Spending

7:40 PM: Just a reminder if you're wondering why the Browns haven't announced a flurry a moves, last month, team owner Jimmy Haslam said the Browns would be less active in free agency.

7:32 PM: We have news of a visit for OLB Jabaal Sheard -- the Patriots are taking a look at him.

7:17 PM: Oh, please, no. Please. Not Jermaine Gresham.

6:50 PM: Free agency news feels like this right now (photo credit: Denise Rowlands):

Tumbleweed

6:35 PM: Good point from Barry McBride of The OBR:

2011 was the year the Browns selected DT Phil Taylor, OLB Jabaal Sheard, WR Greg Little, TE Jordan Cameron, FB Owen Marecic, CB Buster Skrine, OL Jason Pinkston, and S Eric Hagg. With Sheard, Cameron, and Skrine set to depart, Taylor will be the only player from that year's class still on the team in 2015.

6:18 PM: The first swap for QB Sam Bradford is complete. Is another one coming?

6:10 PM: The Colts have signed RB Frank Gore. When are they going to release RB Trent Richardson?

6:05 PM: This smells of a guy who is confident the Bills will land him:

6:04 PM: It sounds like CB Darrelle Revis is finally seeking a true, long-term deal. Jason La Canfora speculates that the Jets seem to be the top contender presently:

5:55 PM: There has been various chatter on Twitter (no solid sources) that the Browns could somehow land QB Sam Bradford or QB Drew Brees. You can let your mind wander with those rumors, but don't start buying jerseys or anything.

5:38 PM: The Bengals are signing LB A.J. Hawk. Meanwhile, my brain is starting to fry after staring at Twitter for so long. I'm going to grab a quick bite for dinner.

5:30 PM: Just some general news: the Jets have released WR Percy Harvin, and the Eagles are interested in RB DeMarco Murray. Also, there was this report from earlier today that the Steelers showed interest in CB Darrelle Revis, who was too pricey for them:

5:22 PM: We'll keep updating you on news related to nose tackles, this time NT Terrance Knighton, who is not going to the Raiders. The Raiders are hosting NT Dan Williams soon because of that. This from Josina Anderson of ESPN:

Just spoke with free agent DT Terrance Knighton: "The #Raiders made me an offer but it's not close to what I was looking for. So as of right now the #Raiders and #Broncos are out of the race. A lot of people had me going to the Raiders because of Jack Del Rio, but I'm now focusing on a few other teams right now."

5:15 PM: Just a reminder: because DL Phil Taylor was not released prior to 4 PM ET, his $5.477 million salary is now fully guaranteed for the 2015 season. He will remain a member of the club in 2015.

5:10 PM: This time it sounds like it's for real -- DE Trent Cole headed to the Indianapolis Colts on a two-year deal:

5:05 PM: I must be getting good at contract projections. After hitting on CB Buster Skrine earlier, my projection of a 3-year, $12 million deal for RB Shane Vereen (on my wishlist) was pretty spot on from what he got with the Giants:

5:00 PM: Well, we know what FS Tashaun Gipson thinks he's worth. He just retweeted the following this evening of free agency:

Gipson RT

4:50 PM: CB Joe Haden presumably reacts to the news of losing CB Buster Skrine. DBN's post on Skrine-to-the-Jets is up here.

4:44 PM: We've known this one for awhile, but WR Torrey Smith is officially departing the AFC North, headed to the San Francisco 49ers:

4:40 PM: We already know that CB Buster Skrine is headed to the Jets. For the record, the other members of the Browns who officially became free agents at 4 PM ET included: QB Brian Hoyer, QB Tyler Thigpen, WR Miles Austin, WR Marlon Moore, TE Jordan Cameron, TE Andre Smith, DL Ahtyba Rubin, DL Sione Fua, OLB Jabaal Sheard, and S Jim Leonhard.

4:34 PM: lol, Peter King got fooled by the fake Ian Rapoport:

King Tweet

4:30 PM: The second stunning retirement in the same day: QB Jake Locker is calling it a career.

4:28 PM: Hmmm, do we need to pump the brakes on NT Dan Williams coming to Cleveland? He now has a pending visit with the Raiders, it seems:

4:22 PM: Our comments feature at SB Nation seems to be down at the moment. Our live blog will continue as our technical team investigates. Here are the terms of the deal for CB Buster Skrine in New York:

I wasn't too far off from my prediction of 4 years, $24 million.

4:12 PM: Per ESPN, the New York Jets are getting CB Buster Skrine, ending his reign with the Browns. Could Skrine and Revis both be with the Jets soon?

4:10 PM: More hints from Lane Adkins of the OBR, who continues to dominate Browns coverage: he "hints" that NT Dan Williams will be headed somewhere soon, I'd presume to the Browns:

4:07 PM: Interesting stuff from Lane Adkins of the OBR, who doesn't seem to think QB Sam Bradford will end up with Philadelphia when it's all said and done:

4:05 PM: Last year, the theme at 4:00 PM ET was all the signings being announced. None so far, but I think it's a side effect of the shock of three big trades in the NFL at the last second.

3:59 PM: Whew, the Giants just got this one re-signed in time:

3:58 PM: OMG! Not Browns-related, but more NFL trade shockers!

3:57 PM: Free agency is about to begin! We might be missing in action for a couple of minutes as Twitter explodes at 4:00 PM ET. Stay tuned, though, we'll be back as soon as we can!

3:54 PM: Another big trade in the NFL! The Ravens have traded DL Haloti Ngata to the Detroit Lions as their replacement for Suh.

3:50 PM: And now it is a done deal for the Saints and Seahawks. That takes away a destination for TE Jordan Cameron.

3:45 PM: Holy smokes. Any chance the Browns can swoop in on this?

3:38 PM: Are the Saints looking to sell? What about for TE Jimmy Graham?

3:35 PM: Some more news on the Browns possibly getting in on TE Charles Clay, who was transition tagged by the Dolphins:

3:30 PM: Interesting news when it comes to NT Dan Williams. So far, I've read that the Giants and Bears have both been informed that Williams isn't signing with them, but that his destination is being kept secret. Could this be the big secret that Browns GM Ray Farmer has been trying to keep?

Also, it still sounds like DT Terrance Knighton will be going to the Raiders.

3:18 PM: Another tight end is off the market as the Denver Broncos have re-signed TE Virgil Green to a three-year deal.

3:15 PM: We have no problem grasping for straws on the heels of free agency. Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer posted the following tweet:

Who is David Dunn? My first thought is an agent -- if so, could Cabot have some intel about a player possibly coming to Cleveland? Dunn is an NFL agent, and I looked up his client list. Among the players who've loosely been linked to the Browns before that he represents: DT Stephen Paea, WR Miles Austin, QB Nick Foles, and QB Jake Locker.

2:55 PM: The Browns were connected to TE Ed Dickson a couple of days ago, but Aaron Wilson is saying that Dickson has decided to return to the Carolina Panthers:

2:45 PM: DBN's Tim Miller elaborates some more on how different defensive tackles could have different impacts, if the Browns go that route:

The trick of free agency is, of course, finding the right balancing act. If Ellis is the Browns' backup option, they could push hard for Williams and Knighton, lose, and then find out that another team already swooped in for Ellis.

2:37 PM: The news has slowed a bit over the past half hour -- call if the "calm before the storm." Last year, right at 4:00 PM ET, Adam Schefter posted about 50 tweets confirming contract signings. If you're looking to follow someone precisely at 4:00:00 PM ET rather than 4:00:01 PM ET, make sure it's Schefter.

2:26 PM: Are the Browns going to get a tight end? Per Lane Adkins of the OBR, the Browns at least made an inquiry about Dolphins tight end Charles Clay, who was transition-tagged. Reports have been saying that the Buffalo Bills are looking to continue their unique offseason, though, by making a play for Clay. The Bills have enough cap space for one more big move, so this could be it.

2:15 PM: That was a fun couple of hours fantasizing about CB Darrelle Revis for the second year in a row. According to Lane Adkins of the OBR, the Browns' contact with Revis was "short and sweet" and they won't be coming to Cleveland unless we see a "drastic change of direction by Revis." It sounds like Revis said, "thanks, but no thanks -- I'm pretty sure I'm going with the Patriots or Jets."

2:05 PM: We're still going strong here, but if you're into Browns news on a day like today, I know you want to read as many nuggets as possible. Check out Dawg Pound Nation's free agency live blog, which also just kicked off. If you are near a radio (or listen online), check out Bull & Fox on 92.3 the Fan.

1:54 PM: We've got out hardcore analysis still going! DBN's Tim Miller provides more of a technical breakdown of which free agent defensive tackles would be attractive to the Browns. My hunch has been that the Browns' first big splash signing will be on the defensive line.

1:42 PM: I am eating a hamburger. My surrounding area is still loaded with several boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, M&Ms, assortments of cookies, and pretzel sticks to get me through the next few days. The problem is I keep having to re-load my water bottle to quench my thirst.

1:40 PM: For those who enjoy reading gossip about the inner workings of Berea and leaks, check out this exchange between DBN and DPN over the past few minutes on Twitter.

1:26 PM: Fun memories: Day 2 of Browns free agency last year. This was our most re-tweeted tweet ever, and it's pretty funny given the Farmer leak stuff that we mentioned this morning. (Reminder: it was later said that this was not the Browns' big board, but rather a list that the web / video team was putting together on general free agents)

1:22 PM: This was posted earlier today, but our good friends at Dawg Pound Nation have a source that says the Browns are still in play for Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts.

1:04 PM: According to Aaron Wilson of Ravens Insider, WR Brian Hartline's 2-year, $6 million contract is broken down like this:

  • 2015: $1.5 million base salary, $750K signing bonus ($2.25 million cap hit)
  • 2016: $3 million base salary, $750K signing bonus ($3.75 million cap hit)

12:57 PM: I personally showed some moderate interest in RB Shane Vereen earlier this week. Per Rand Getlin, Vereen looks to be headed to the New York Giants, with a return to New England still in play.

12:55 PM: The Browns officially announced the signing of WR Brian Hartline. Go to Browns.com for quotes from Hartline, head coach Mike Pettine, and GM Ray Farmer.

12:50 PM: Well then...perhaps there is still hope for the Browns and DE/OLB Trent Cole, as ESPN's Adam Caplan is now dismissing Ian Rapoport's report from earlier:

12:46 PM: According to Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository, the Jaguars might be tempted by the thought of making a play for Browns FS Tashaun Gipson, who the Browns placed a 2nd-round tender on Monday:

Funny enough, the Jaguars were the team that made a play for Browns C Alex Mack last year, who received the transition tag from the Browns. The Browns' matched Jacksonville's offer, but the offer included an opt out clause for Mack after the 2015 season. The Jaguars could get creative with Gipson too, and if he accepted an offer, the Browns would have a chance to match. If Cleveland does not match an offer, the team who gets Gipson would owe Cleveland a 2nd round draft pick. That would be No. 36 overall in Jacksonville's case, nearly a first-round pick.

12:42 PM: One things that some players might consider when signing with a team is the tax rate associated with that state. That's a benefit for NT Ndamukong Suh going to Miami -- no state tax.

12:35 PM: Even though he's no longer going to be part of the Browns, we're still curious as to how much money QB Brian Hoyer will command compared to QB Josh McCown. Not including the playoff incentives, McCown's deal was 3 years, $14 million, an average of $4.66 million per yet. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Texans could be giving Hoyer $6 million per year:

12:20 PM: According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Indianapolis Colts are signing DE/OLB Trent Cole.

That thins the market of available pass rushers. All of the top free agent pass rushers are being locked up by teams other than the Browns. One player still available is DE Greg Hardy, but I haven't heard about him being connected to the Browns. DE Derrick Morgan is also an option Cleveland could consider. My hunch is that the Browns try to make an immediate, surprise splash at the nose tackle position when 4 PM ET hits.

12:12 PM: Good afternoon! We've hit a dry spell in news, but that is typical when you look at the timeline of our Day 1 blog from last year. News could break at any moment, but expect things to start heating up again around 1:30 PM ET to 2:00 PM ET. In the mean time, we'll continue to try to dig up some more nuggets to keep you entertained.

11:50 AM: Per ESPN, it's being reported that the Texans will sign QB Brian Hoyer within the next 24 hours.

11:39 AM: Doing a little catch-up, Pro Football Focus commented on the Browns signing WR Brian Hartline last night:

With Josh Gordon suspended for at least a year and Miles Austin a free agent, excellent slot man Andrew Hawkins was left as the lone plus threat. As for what Hartline brings to the table, his Yards per Route Run figure has dwindled over the past three seasons (2.08, 18th in 2012; 1.63, 42nd in 2013; 0.99, 83rd in 2014) and his targets, well over 100 in each of 2012 and 2013, fell off to just 62 in 2014. Not a splash signing in the end, but with the Browns’ QB questions lingering it’s not easy to see the addition of any receiver generating that much excitement.

11:30 AM: One big player to watch today is DE/OLB Trent Cole. Just like WR Brian Hartline, Cole can technically sign before the 4 PM ET deadline. The last we heard was that Cole spent two days in Cleveland before going to visit Indianapolis. It might be down to those two teams for Cole, and Cleveland needs another pass rusher after OLB Jerry Hughes re-signed with the Bills and with OLB Jabaal Sheard set to hit free agency.

11:26 AM: Even though we're all getting excited about the possibility of signing CB Darrelle Revis, there's still a real chance we could bring CB Buster Skrine back. The market for him might be getting clearer after CB Davon House is reportedly set to get $6.25 million per year from the Jaguars:

11:15 AM: You have to love this -- QB Ty Detmer and QB Brian Hoyer poking fun at the Browns' long list of quarterbacks since 1999. Speaking of Hoyer, all rumors still have him basically going to the Texans, with the Jets only having an outside chance at landing him.

11:04 AM: I think CB Joe Haden is on board with adding another shutdown corner:

11:00 AM: As we explained last month, at 4:00 PM ET today, the 5th year option for Browns DL Phil Taylor becomes fully guaranteed. If he's on the roster at that time, Taylor's cap hit for 2015 is $5.477 million, and there would be zero incentive to cutting him at that point. There has been no indication that the Browns plan on cutting Taylor, but if Cleveland really wanted to overhaul the position, this is the deadline to make a move on Taylor.

10:50 AM: We ran a hypothetical Twitter poll on whether fans would prefer the Browns sign CB Buster Skrine on a long-term deal, or sign CB Darrelle Revis on what would basically be a pricey, 1-year deal. The results are overwhelmingly in favor of Revis:

Although I'd miss Skrine, going with Revis would absolutely be the right thing to do. Having a combination of Revis and CB Joe Haden, even if it's just for one year, is a dream. Also, it buys the Browns another year of development with CB Justin Gilbert, who would hopefully mature into a good, starting cornerback by 2016.

10:40 AM: In case you missed it, Browns head coach Mike Pettine was at the Cleveland Auto Show yesterday, meaning he was subjected to a flurry of questions by the media that he probably didn't want to have to answer a day before the start of free agency. We have a transcript of the interview here. Here's what he said about the team's general plan for free agency:

"Very strict plan with how we want to do it. You don't want to get caught up, free agency can get very emotional. We go back to the mantra: it's gotta be the right player, first of all, but then just as important, it's gotta be the right price. So when you build a roster and you're working off a budgeted salary cap and you have long term plans on how you want to spend your money and allocate it towards younger guys on your roster, that you have certain parameters that you have to stick to. We're very selective in the players that we're looking at -- guys with the attributes that we just discussed earlier, that 'Play like a Brown' -- so we feel that we're doing what's best for the Browns, I feel really good about the plan, and we'll see how it shakes out."

10:28 AM: How legit is the interest in CB Darrelle Revis?

The Browns reportedly had brief interest in Revis last year too, but nothing materialized. The difference might be the fact that Revis already got his Super Bowl ring. While everyone still wants to win, I think there is more flexibility in one's career once you've already got the big win out of the way.

10:20 AM: Per Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns have expressed interest in CB Darrelle Revis. We have a story on the Revis rumor and what type of cap hits he's had with the Buccaneers and Patriots the past two years. Revis has previous ties to Mike Pettine and Cleveland has the cap space to make a one-year Revis signing a reality (maybe even two years).

10:08 AM: Over at RotoWorld, Evan Silva wrote a column projecting where the Top 50 free agents will land and what type of contracts they will land. Unfortunately, he doesn't project any of those free agents to land with Cleveland, but he does discuss where he thinks OLB Jabaal Sheard, CB Buster Skrine, and TE Jordan Cameron could be headed:

  • 22. Edge rusher Jabaal Sheard -- Sheard posted sack totals of 8.0, 7.5, and 5.5 during his first three seasons before dipping to 2.0 in an injury-plagued 2014 campaign. This could be a good buy-low opportunity for savvy teams. Turning 26 in May, Sheard is best suited to play left end in a 4-3. He'll be an excellent fallback target for teams that miss out on Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. The Bucs, Bengals, Seahawks, and Patriots reportedly have interest. Free Agent Forecast: Buccaneers on a four-year, $28 million contract.

  • 28. Tight end Jordan Cameron -- Only injuries have prevented college basketball player Cameron from emerging as one of the NFL's premier pass-catching tight ends. He posted an 80-917-7 receiving line two years ago before concussions and a shoulder injury wrecked his 2014 season. The Seahawks reportedly attempted to trade for Cameron last October, and tried signing Julius Thomas before he agreed to terms with the Jaguars. Cameron would be a big upgrade on Luke Willson in Seattle. I still wouldn't rule out the Falcons placing a bid. Free Agent Forecast: Seahawks on a two-year, $10 million contract.

  • 31. Cornerback Buster Skrine -- The free agent cornerback market should begin to clarify once a key domino like Tramon Williams falls. At the moment, projecting landing spots for the likes of Skrine, Chris Culliver, and Davon House is a shaky endeavor. I do believe the Dolphins would make sense for Skrine, who turns 26 in April and can play both perimeter and slot corner. Miami has a gaping hole across from LCB Brent Grimes. Free Agent Forecast: Dolphins on a four-year, $24 million contract.

Based on those assessments, Sheard is a bit too pricey for me, but I would absolutely bring Cameron and Skrine back to Cleveland on those types of deals. Cameron is more likely to leave just for the sake of leaving, but don't be surprised if Skrine still remains a member of the Browns when it's all said and done.

9:54 AM: One interesting storyline is about how Browns GM Ray Farmer is trying to keep the team's free agent wishlist confidential. Some fans have complained about the Browns not being linked to big names, but Lane Adkins of The OBR has repeatedly said that the Browns are constantly working the phones but have asked the agents they are contacting to keep their interest secretive.

What about leaks within the Browns' organization? If you read this Twitter interaction, you can see a fascinating discussion among local reporters/media members about how Farmer purposely put fake names out there last year to help discover leaks within the organization and then dismissed people who spilled the beans.

Last year, on March 9th, 2014, the Browns fired former tight end Aaron Shea, who was the Director of Player Engagement. It's speculated that he was the Twitter user who went by the name of CONCEDE last year who revealed reliable information from inside Berea before the account mysteriously disappeared one day.

While the Browns have ridden themselves of some leaks, one person who still has a definite inside connection in Berea is Adkins. He called the exact timeline of when the Browns would make their announcement about tendering their restricted free agents yesterday, and then made reference to that when the announcement came down:

If you're a Browns fan and aren't following Adkins on Twitter, go do so now -- he's been awesome.

9:40 AM: Good morning, everybody! Let's start things off with a quick update on how much cap space the Browns should have. The Browns' adjusted salary cap remains at $161.767 million. The amount that has changed due to the tenders to restricted free agents and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as the signing of WR Brian Hartline, increases the Browns' Top 51 cap total. We don't know Hartline's exact cap number for 2015, but we will estimate it at $3 million.

Browns' Top 51 Cap Total: $118.883 million
Browns' Dead Money for 2015: $1.890 million
Browns' Total Cap Spent for 2015: $118.883 million + $1.890 million = $120.773 million

When you subtract the two subtotals above ($161.767 million - 120.773 million), we conclude that the Browns have "$40.994 million in cap space" heading into free agency. If you account for the $7-8 million needed for draft picks, it's more like $33 million in available cap space, which is still plenty to sign a big player and a couple of other nice pieces. The Browns are well in line with the minimum 89% cash spending requirement, so there is nothing forcing Ray Farmer's hand to make moves just for the sake of making moves.