Ian Rapoport reports that Rob Housler and the Browns have agreed on a 1-year contract:
The contract TE Rob Housler signed with #Browns is for one year and worth $1.76 million, including $750,000 signing bonus, source confirms.— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) April 9, 2015
Two years ago, Rob Housler and current Browns tight end Jim Dray were teammates in Arizona. Housler was the receiving tight end while Dray was the blocking tight end. Both saw a lot of playing time. Now they're teammates again and may be headed for the exact same situation. Of course, this depends heavily on what the Browns do in the draft.
As I discussed briefly yesterday, Rob Housler is a speedy and quick tight end that lacks the build and lower body strength to offer much as a blocker. He's not a true starting-caliber tight end. He isn't well-rounded. Plus, while his strength is what he offers as a receiver, he still has some limitations in that area: poor route running, not great at getting separation, goes down easily after the catch unless he has space to build up speed before contact.
"House" is more of a quality role player. Adding him to the mix at the position gives the Browns three players of that caliber.
Jim Dray is by far the best blocker of the group but doesn't have much deep speed and can't threaten the seam. He's not a phenomenal blocker but he's good enough to rely on as an in-line tight end. He also has good hands and ball skills, he just doesn't have the speed or quickness to separate or do much after the catch.
Barnidge has good long speed but isn't very agile or quick off the line. He's adequate as a blocker but only barely. It's possible that the Browns will use all three tight ends. It's far more likely that Rob Housler will supplant Barnidge on the depth chart, as he's only slightly worse as a blocker and better all-around as a receiver.
House brings the ability to run seam routes, digs, posts, and deep crossing routes much better than Dray or Barnidge can. He's quite comfortable being split out wide or in the slot. It remains to be seen how big of a role his receiving ability helps him land, but expect Rob Housler to be hungry to prove himself, as he'll likely want to land more than another 1-year deal next offseason.