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Browns add ‘best gunner’ in free agency

Cleveland signing cornerback/special teams player Mike Ford Jr. to one-year contract.

NFL: OCT 30 Panthers at Falcons Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns look to have added some reinforcements on Monday for special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone.

While there has been no official word from the team, it appears they have reached a deal with free agent cornerback/special teams player Michael Ford Jr., according to a Tweet from Ford himself:

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport later checked in to say it is a one-year deal for Ford worth up to $2.25 million:

Ford spent the 2022 season with the Atlanta Falcons, where he appeared in all 17 games and made two starts, finishing with 15 tackles. While he saw limited time on defense - just 83 snaps - he logged 361 snaps on special teams for the Falcons.

Ford’s ability on special teams is the highlight of his game, according to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, who highlighted Ford’s work in a recent review of Atlanta’s free agents:

The 6-foot and 190-pound Ford has developed into one of the league’s top special teams players and is a key contributor there. Pay no attention to the defensive numbers (although he could play corner or safety in an emergency) and look at the overall value to a phase of the game Atlanta places an emphasis on.

Ford is also extremely confident in his ability to fill the gunner role:

Originally an undrafted free agent out of Southeast Missouri State, Ford played three seasons with the Detroit Lions (2018 to 2020) before spending the 2021 season with the Denver Broncos and then last season with the Falcons.