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Evaluating what the Browns should do with their exclusive rights free agents

The Browns will probably tender RB Dontrell Hilliard, WR KhaDarel Hodge, and TE Pharaoh Brown as ERFA.

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

We have covered all of the Cleveland Browns’ unrestricted and restricted free agents, so there is only one category remaining: the team’s three exclusive rights free agents that they will need to make decisions on by 4:00 PM on March 18th. An explanation on what exclusive rights free agents are, along with this year’s tender amounts, are in the sidebar below.

List of the Browns’ ERFA

  • RB Dontrell Hilliard
  • WR KhaDarel Hodge
  • TE Pharaoh Brown

Analysis

  • Hilliard has 2 accrued seasons under his belt, which would make his tender 1 year for $660,000. Although he played in 14 games last year and saw a lot of snaps the first half of the year, he only had 13 carries for 49 yards, and 12 catches for 92 yards, on the season. Hilliard will probably be tendered to compete for a roster spot, but Cleveland will be looking to add another running back, knowing that they probably can’t sign Kareem Hunt long-term after the season.
  • Hodge led the Browns with 10 tackles and 2 assists on special teams. I don’t envision him being used as a regular rotational receiver, but it is a no-brainer to tender him for $660,000 (2 accrued seasons) with special teams coordinator Mike Priefer returning.
  • Brown only has 1 accrued season, despite being in the league since 2017. Teams typically tender all of their exclusive rights free agent players just because there is no downside to doing so. Brown would get a contract for $585,000, but I don’t know if he’ll be on the roster this season as the team definitely needs to upgrade their blocking at the position.