The clock is ticking, and the Cleveland Browns still don’t have a decision from left tackle Joe Thomas. That hasn’t stopped them from continuing to try to upgrade the line.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network broke the news Tuesday evening that the Browns are planning on signing OT Chris Hubbard to a 5-year, $37.5 million deal with $18 million guaranteed. The signing would likely make him the team’s new starting right tackle, abruptly kicking last year’s starter, Shon Coleman, to the curb.
The #Browns are expected to sign OT Chris Hubbard to a 5-year deal worth $37.5M with nearly $18M guaranteed, source said. More help up front for Cleveland.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2018
Hubbard, an undrafted free agent who signed with the Steelers in 2013, has started 14 games over the past two seasons, including 10 last year at both guard and right tackle. The assumption here is that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley could have been a champion for urging the team to sign Hubbard if he believed he was an up-and-coming tackle (although he’ll be 27 years old by the time the season starts). DBN’s Andrea Hangst has seen a lot of Steelers games and had this to say about Hubbard:
Don’t be discouraged if Hubbard is an unknown name Browns fans. He’s under-the-radar AND underrated. Deserved this $, starting oppt’y. Should be RT going forward in CLE.— Andrea Hangst (@FBALL_Andrea) March 13, 2018
Meanwhile, the Browns also added depth to the offensive tackle position by reportedly reaching an agreement with veteran OT Donald Stephenson on a 1-year, $2.5 million deal. Stephenson has started 37 games in his career, and GM John Dorsey is familiar with him from his Kansas City days.
Former Broncos OT Donald Stephenson headed to the Browns on a one-year, $2.5m deal, source says— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 13, 2018
Meanwhile, the Browns hope to hear word from Thomas before free agency officially begins at 4:00 PM on Wednesday, and the team could still be pushing to sign OT Nate Solder depending on what Thomas does.