After failing to re-sign tight end Jordan Cameron on Thursday, the Browns took a proactive approach on Friday, signing a current Brown in the final year of his rookie contract.
Defensive lineman John Hughes agreed to a four-year, $14.4 million contract extension through 2019, pending a physical, the team announced today.
The Browns selected the Columbus native in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Since then, Hughes has enjoyed a productive three-year career in Cleveland. Hughes has recorded 40 tackles, four sacks, and seven passes defensed as a Brown.
Hughes missed a large portion of last season with a knee injury suffered against the Raiders on October 26. The 6'2, 304 pound nose tackle sat out the next eight games before returning in the season finale against the Ravens. Hughes posted a solid performance in the 20-10 loss, recording seven tackles and playing 42 snaps.
The size of the contract likely indicates that the Browns are investing in Hughes to help anchor the defensive line. Several writers here at Dawgs By Nature, including Tim Miller, also value Hughes highly.
@JFowlerESPN A starting-caliber talent. John Hughes grades out favorably with the top NTs of this free agent class. http://t.co/5gTNZ1fzu6— Tim A. Miller (@Bumblyjack) March 13, 2015
I consider re-signing Hughes a sign that Browns recognize what they have in him & plan on a larger role going forward. That's starter money.— Tim A. Miller (@Bumblyjack) March 13, 2015
Hughes also expressed his own excitement with the contract on Twitter today.
Blessed beyond belief!!!!— John hughes (@hughes_browns93) March 13, 2015
The fourth year pro also made his sentiments known on ClevelandBrowns.com today: "It's an amazing feeling," Hughes said. "For the Cleveland Browns to have the faith in me and believe in me to sign me a year early, it's just a great feeling."