Free agency officially begins for the Cleveland Browns and the rest of the teams in the NFL at 4:00 PM ET on Wednesday.
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)
2019 Browns Free Agency Live Blog - Day 1
7:30 PM: Now we’re starting to hear about player visits for guys who didn’t get “signed” during the legal tampering period. For example, TE Jared Cook has a visit lined up with the New Orleans Saints.
4:30 PM: Just before the start of the new league year, former Browns DT Phil Taylor announced his retirement on Twitter:
I’d like to thank the NFL and the Cleveland Browns for drafting me. It’s been a fun and tough 8 years. I’ve made my home in NE Ohio with my family. I love the Cleveland fans and can’t wait to give back to the community that supported me. I’m officially retiring! #DawgPound #4Life— Phil Taylor (@PhilTaylor98) March 13, 2019
4:26 PM: You have to love Rich Eisen’s response to Mike Silver saying someone in the Browns organization needs to teach QB Baker Mayfield how to grow up.
4:22 PM: Welp, if the Browns want to pursue S Eric Berry now, they won’t have to worry about waiting on the Chiefs. Kansas City just got him, making him a free agent.
Chiefs released five-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry. Had Berry been on KC’s roster Friday, $7.25 million of his salary would have become fully guaranteed.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
4:08 PM: The Browns have officially announced the trade with the Giants. As is the case with any trade, it is still pending the result of the physicals for each player.
4:00 PM: Welcome to the 2019 NFL season!
3:20 PM: Here is the thing about the Browns’ cap space: because we don’t know the year one cap hits for players like DT Sheldon Richardson, LB Adarius Taylor, or TE Demetrius Harris yet, we can’t give you as accurate of an estimate we we would like. Therefore, I have manually “guessed” at the year one cap hits for those three players.
Browns’ 2018 Adjusted Salary Cap: $188.2 million + $56.5 million = $244.7 million
Browns’ Top 51 Cap Total: $193.37 million* (estimate)
Browns’ Dead Money for 2019: $14.64 million
Browns’ Total Cap Spent for 2019: $193.37 million + $14.64 million = $208.01 million
Browns Total Cap Space: $244.7 million - $208.01 million = $36.69 million
Therefore, we estimate that the Browns have about $36.69 million in cap space.
3:05 PM: We are just one hour from the official start of the league year! Let’s see if we can gather the latest cap estimate we have for the Browns in the next half hour.
2:58 PM: Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Browns are now shopping DL Emmanuel Ogbah in possible trades.
Browns are now shopping former defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah after acquiring Olivier Vernon, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
2:50 PM: One thing we didn’t mention earlier is that there was a rumor the Browns were interested in Chiefs S Eric Berry:
Hearing rumors that John Dorsey and Browns could be making a play to pluck Eric Berry out of Kansas City.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) March 13, 2019
Normally I'd ignore those rumors, but after the events of last night, this is another one I'll be keeping an eye on.
However, $7.25 million of Berry’s contract this year becomes fully guaranteed on March 15, so some believe the Chiefs are going to cut him at that point. Nonetheless, it is a situation to keep an eye on.
2:28 PM: Here is our story on the signing of LB Adarius Taylor. Additionally, Mary Kay Cabot has the financial terms of the deal:
Sorry, It's LB Adarius Taylor, not Thomas. But still 2 years, $5 million, $2.55 million guaranteed with #Browns— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 13, 2019
2:18 PM: Per ESPN’s Jordan Schultz, the Browns will sign LB Adarius Taylor, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was mostly a reserve until last season, when he started 10 games, logging 60 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.
#Browns agreed to terms with lb Adarius Taylor on a two-year deal, per league source.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 13, 2019
2:12 PM: The Los Angeles Chargers have signed former Browns QB Tyrod Taylor. He will have a two-year deal there as the backup to QB Philip Rivers, per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Source: The #Chargers agreed to terms with QB Tyrod Taylor on a 2-year deal.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2019
12:33 PM: Not only did the Browns not get S Earl Thomas, but the Baltimore Ravens are getting him! The first strike within the division has happened.
Former Seahawks’ S Earl Thomas intends to sign a four-year, $55 million deal that includes $32 million fully guaranteed at signing with the Baltimore Ravens, league source tells ESPN. Deal includes $22 million in first nine months.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
11:35 AM: And now, we are getting a definitive “will not happen” from the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, with respect to S Earl Thomas and the Browns. But it sounds like Cleveland has their interests set on some other yet-to-be-named players.
I can now add to this the above will not happen. Earl Thomas will not be signing with the #Browns, source says. We wait to see where he will sign but it won’t be in Cleveland.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 13, 2019
10:48 AM: And now, here is an update from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who says that the Browns are not really looking at S Earl Thomas because he is a free safety, and they are in the market for a strong safety.
Just to be clear, the @Browns not looking at Earl Thomas just because they traded Jabril Peppers. GM John Dorsey loves Damarious Randall at the same position Earl Thomas plays. They're in the market for a strong safety. That's not Thomas.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 13, 2019
10:45 AM: According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, as of last night, the Browns were not engaged in talks with S Earl Thomas. That doesn’t mean they won’t be, though.
On NFL Network, @MikeGarafolo just noted Earl Thomas and the Browns were NOT engaged in talks as of last night.— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) March 13, 2019
10:10 AM: Next, let’s take a look at the status of the Browns’ restricted and exclusive rights free agents.
Restricted Free Agents
- The Browns’ restricted free agents this year were WR Rashard Higgins, FB Orson Charles, DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, and CB Juston Burris.
- The only RFA who was tendered was Higgins, and he was given an original round tender. That means other teams can negotiate with him and make him an offer; if Cleveland does not match the offer, they receiver a fifth-round pick in return.
- The other players are set to become unrestricted free agents if they aren’t tendered by 4 PM ET today. The moderate surprise was last week, when Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer noted that the team does not plan on tendering Boddy-Calhoun. But could that change now, after the trading of SS Jabrill Peppers? (Although Boddy-Calhoun played free safety last year, not strong safety).
Exclusive Rights Free Agents
The Browns already tendered both of their exclusive rights free agents, DT Trevon Coley and S Jermaine Whitehead.
9:59 AM: Let’s take this time to remind ourselves on the status of all of the Browns’ own free agents, starting with the unrestricted free agents.
Unrestricted Free Agents
- These players have not been re-signed yet, and are set to become free agents: QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Rod Streater, OL Earl Watford, CB E.J. Gaines, CB Phillip Gaines
- These players will sign with another club: WR Breshad Perriman (Tampa Bay)
- These players have been re-signed by the Browns: OT Greg Robinson, DE Carl Davis, LB Ray-Ray Armstrong.
It’s possible that the team will try to re-sign some of their own players still — this list is current as of this morning. We will look at the RFA and ERFA in a second.
9:45 AM: We have our first social media post from WR Odell Beckham Jr, in which he says, “Dawgs gotta eat.”
9:20 AM: It’s been a quiet past hour in the land of the NFL, but rest assured, we are still monitoring everything!
8:22 AM: Per Art Stapleton of The USA Today, there has been an amendment to the original trade between the Browns and Giants that involved DE Olivier Vernon and OG Kevin Zeitler. In that deal, the Browns were going to receive a 4th rounder (No. 132) from the Giants, in exchange for a 5th rounder (No. 155). That swapping of draft picks will no longer happen (which slightly benefits the Giants). Therefore, the final trade deal (which might be in one package — we will see) looks like this:
Browns-Giants Trade Package
|Browns Get||Giants Get|
|Browns Get||Giants Get|
|WR Odell Beckham Jr.||OG Kevin Zeitler|
|DE Olivier Vernon||SS Jabrill Peppers|
|1st round pick (#17)|
|3rd round pick (#95)|
7:46 AM: Touching on some non-Browns news, one of the big signings yesterday was RB Le’Veon Bell signing with the New York Jets. Knowing how much of a workhorse Bell is, The Crow can’t be too happy about that.
Le’Veon Bell’s four-year deal with the New York Jets has a max value of $61 million and includes $35 million guaranteed, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
7:37 AM: According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Browns are signing TE Demetrius Harris to a two-year deal. He’s a younger, better blocking version of recently-released TE Darren Fells. Our article on Harris can be found here.
Former Chiefs’ TE Demetrius Harris intends to sign a two-year deal with the Cleveland Browns, per source. Browns adding yet another weapon for QB Baker Mayfield.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019
6:55 AM: Good morning, Browns fans, and welcome to the official start of free agency! It begins at 4 PM today, and we will be busy all day covering free agency news in the Browns and the NFL today.
We will also work on updating the Browns' projected cap space remaining after all the moves that Cleveland made yesterday (which, as we re-iterate, mostly don't become official until 4 PM today).
Tuesday (10:55 PM): Following up from earlier, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now signing WR Breshad Perriman to the same 1-year, $4 million deal that he had signed with Cleveland.
Tuesday (10:17 PM): This was from earlier, but Charles Robinson talked about Beckham’s list of preferences, but added that the Browns were definitely his top choice, thanks to being paired up with his buddy Jarvis Landry:
More on Odell Beckham Jr’s “preference” list of teams in a trade: He liked the idea of the #Cowboys (he’s close to Dak + facing the #Giants). Also, the #Broncos (he’s close to Von). But I was told that his unquestionable top choice was uniting with Jarvis Landry and the #Browns.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) March 13, 2019
Tuesday (10:02 PM): Sometimes you have to take care of the little transactions too. The Browns are re-signing LB Ray-Ray Armstrong to a 1-year deal worth $2.25 million, per Mike Garafolo.
Tuesday (9:53 PM): Per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (who is on the Browns’ bandwagon now), the Browns “feel good about their chances” of landing S Earl Thomas.
Browns feeling good about the chances to land Earl Thomas. Not sitting back at all. Then stack depth by taking best player available through the draft and get used yo hosting prime time games again. It's on in The Land— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 13, 2019
Tuesday (9:49 PM): We’re celebrating already with a “Division Favorite,” “Loaded,” and “There’s Always This Year” hoodie and T-shirt that is fresh off the iron for Browns fans!
Tuesday (9:39 PM): There are a lot of rumors going around among fans about the Browns trying to add S Earl Thomas. Let’s hit a couple of nuggets from our good friend Lane Adkins, who has been tweeting on his account:
- Lane said “When Jimmy Haslam gave his blessing for the Browns to get crazy...it was on.”
- After the trade for Beckham, Lane tweeted, “And they’re working on another folks.” He replied to a fan saying they were working on both a trade and a signing (but that it always depends how the process goes). Then, Glenn Moore of Cleveland.com had this to say:
Those missing Jabrill Peppers are going to love his replacement. #Browns aren’t done.— Glenn Moore (@GlennMooreCLE) March 13, 2019
- And Lane followed up with this:
Just slow a little, Earl Thomas isn't the only safety the Browns have interest in --- but they seek 1— LA (@TheRealLA__) March 13, 2019
Tuesday (9:31 PM): Whether he gets it remains to be seen, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says that WR Odell Beckham Jr. will want money added to his contract, following the model that WR Antonio Brown got after being traded to the Oakland Raiders.
Tuesday (9:27 PM): Earlier in the day, we had reported that WR Breshad Perriman had agreed to a 1-year, $4 million deal with the Browns. Unlike the deal with DT Carl Davis, though, Perriman’s deal was never officially announced. After the Beckham news, Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer reports that Perriman is backing out of his deal:
Tuesday (9:24 PM): Good evening, Browns fans! Every year, we do this live blog all day starting the day of free agency. However, given the crazy news that is happening tonight, I am kicking it off early. If you haven’t heard, the big news Tuesday evening is that the Browns are trading for WR Odell Beckham Jr. In return, the Browns are giving the Giants:
- 1st round pick (#17 overall)
- 3rd round pick (#95 overall)
- SS Jabrill Peppers