For those of you who thought that Free Agency was just a myth, a legend perpetrated by the bourgeoisie to enrage us, a few Free Agents have been spotted and even signed by the Browns in the last 24 hours.
Yesterday, Cleveland signed Frostee Rucker - DE, formerly from Cincy - to a 5 year, $21 million ($8 mil guaranteed) contract. It appears that the Browns have informed Frostee that he will start at RDE in place of the invisible Jayme Mitchell. At 6'3, 280 lbs, Rucker is a decent End, certainly an upgrade over Mitchell, even if he's probably not going to be a true game-changer. He had 44 tackles and 4 sacks last year and was part of one of the better D-Lines in the league.
Although he'll start at End, Rucker has the size and experience to play inside on clear pass-rush downs.
To further add depth to the position, the Browns added Juqua Parker - DE, formerly from Philly. He signed a 1 year, $3 mil contract today. The 6'2, 250 lb. Parker is clearly a depth signing. He only had 1.5 sacks last season in sparing play, but logged 14 in '09-'10. He will likely only take the field on pass-rush downs.
Last, Cleveland re-signed Dimitri Patterson (CB) to a 3 year, $16 mil contract ($6 mil guaranteed). Patterson played the Nickel for the Browns last season and was generally solid. His contract is starter-type money, and it is thought that he will start in place of Sheldon Brown this year, moving Brown to Safety and Buster Skrine to Nickel. If this is the case, you can likely cross Morris Claiborne off your draft list at the #4 slot.
Peyton Hillis, on the other hand, signed a 1 year, $3 mil contract to back up Jamaal Charles in Kansas City. Hillis' people claim that the Browns never made him an offer, but it's hard for a team to make a counter-offer when you sign the first contract that comes down the pike. It's pretty clear that Hillis just wanted the hell out of Cleveland, and Heckert probably didn't feel he was important enough to stop. Hillis is a decent back and his departure leaves a hole, but he's hardly irreplaceable. There's not too much available in Free Agency, so look for Cleveland to take a RB in the first 3 picks.
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