April 20, 2014

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Browns sign tight end Ben Watson

BEREA — The Browns signed veteran tight end Ben Watson to a multiyear contract Friday morning, hopefully improving a position that struggled in 2009 after the trade of Kellen Winslow.

Tight end Ben Watson, shown in this photo from December 2007 when he was with the Patriots, has been signed by the Browns. (AP file photo.)

Tight end Ben Watson, shown in this photo from December 2007 when he was with the Patriots, has been signed by the Browns. (AP file photo.)

Watson was an unrestricted free agent after playing his first six seasons for the New England Patriots.

“We viewed Ben as one of the top all-around tight ends in the free agent market,” said general manager Tom Heckert said in the news release.  “Because of his athleticism and intelligence, he has proven valuable as both a receiver and blocker during his career, and has performed well in both facets.

“He comes from a winning program in New England and possesses the traits that we like in a player.  We feel as though he can help us in many different areas and we are excited about his addition to our team.”

Watson (6-foot-3, 255 pounds) was the 32nd pick in 2004. He’s started 47 games with 167 catches for 2,102 yards and 20 touchdowns.

He played in 16 games in 2009 with seven starts, catching 29 passes for 404 yards and five touchdowns.

A collection of Browns tight ends totaled 42 catches, 469 yards and three touchdowns in 2009.