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Cleveland Browns Free Agent Review: DT Stephen Paea

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NFL: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our preview on the Cleveland Browns’ free agent class, we now take a look at DL Stephen Paea.

NFL: New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Stephen Paea (99) tackles New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

How and When He Joined the Browns: The Browns signed Paea just before final cuts of the 2016 season. Paea was a second-round pick in 2011 by the Chicago Bears. In four years with the Bears, he started 40 games and logged 12 sacks. In 2015, he signed a four-year deal with the Washington Redskins, but didn’t crack the starting lineup and was viewed as a disappointment. Cleveland needed help on the defensive line after DE Desmond Bryant was lost at the start of camp to injury.

Productivity Level Last Season: In 13 games with the Browns, Paea was mostly a rotational player, finishing with 12 tackles and 0.5 sack.

Why Keeping Him Could Make Sense: At 28 years old, he would be the second most veteran defensive lineman on the roster.

What the Browns Should Do: Cleveland has a new defensive coordinator in Gregg Williams, who will probably expect to have a few new players on the defensive line this year, whether they be draft picks (hello, Myles Garrett) or some low-key veterans who have played for him before.

Last year, Paea got a 1-year, $1.9 million deal from the Browns. I don’t think Cleveland will make it a pressing matter to retain him either as he was sort of a one-year stopgap while Bryant was out.

Let us know below whether or not the team should try to re-sign Paea!