July 30, 2014

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Day 1 of NFL free agency: Browns don’t land WR, but talk to QB Matt Flynn

NFL free agency began Tuesday at 4 p.m. Browns general manager Tom Heckert has said the team won’t “go crazy,” but that doesn’t mean they won’t participate or make news.

Here’s some up-to-the-minute information from the team and around the league:

The Browns’ search for a veteran receiver came up empty in the first day of free agency.

Vincent Jackson (Tampa Bay), Pierre Garcon (Washington), Robert Meachem (San Diego) and Josh Morgan (Washington) reportedly reached long-term deals.

Meachem seemed like the best fit because of his speed and had an interest in the Browns, according to a source, but he signed a four-year deal with the Chargers.

Jackson’s deal was reportedly worth $55.5 million and Garcon’s $42.5 million.

The most high-profile receivers remaining are Brandon Lloyd, Mario Manningham, Laurent Robinson and Eddie Royal.

FLYNN IN PLAY

The Matt Flynn ball is rolling.

Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel tweeted that Miami and Cleveland are negotiating with Flynn, the former backup quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. Kelley reported the teams would exchange contract offers with Flynn’s agent soon.

Browns general manager Tom Heckert said twice since the season, including last week, that it was doubtful the Browns would pursue Flynn or any other high-profile free-agent quarterback. But his stance may have changed when he was unable to trade for the No. 2 pick in the draft and get Baylor’s Robert Griffin III. The Redskins gave up three first-rounders and a second-rounder for the right to draft Griffin.

Flynn has made two starts in his NFL career, including a six-touchdown effort in the regular-season finale.

The Browns were reportedly also interested in defensive end Jeremy Mincey, but he re-signed with the Jaguars.

OUT THE DOOR?

Running back Peyton Hillis, cornerback Dimitri Patterson and safety Mike Adams weren’t re-signed by the Browns. The Browns are open to bringing them back, but they are free to sign elsewhere.

Hillis planned a visit to Kansas City, according to the Plain Dealer, and he would be reunited with former Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Hillis rushed for 1,177 yards under Daboll in 2010.

Adams drew interest from four teams, according to a league source.

Backup offensive linemen Artis Hicks and Oniel Cousins also became free agents.

** The Browns released right tackle Tony Pashos and punter Richmond McGee. Pashos had surgery last week to repair a ruptured ankle tendon and is upset the team cut him. He fought through pain last year to play 12 games.

McGee punted in the opener last year, then was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. He was signed after Reggie Hodges tore an Achilles’ tendon in training camp.

Hodges is expected to be healthy for 2012.

COMING BACK

Tight end Alex Smith, receiver Jordan Norwood, defensive lineman Brian Schaefering and offensive lineman John Greco will be back with the Browns.

The team announced an extension with Greco, and a league source confirmed Smith agreed to a one-year deal. Norwood and Schaefering were tendered as exclusive-rights players.

Smith, a strong run blocker, started four times in 14 games. He caught 14 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Smith has played seven seasons, including the last two with the Browns.

Norwood started four games last year, setting career highs with 23 receptions for 268 yards and a touchdown. Schaefering appeared in all 16 games as a reserve, recording 29 tackles and a half-sack.

Greco was acquired in a preseason trade for a late-round draft pick. He played in 15 games, mostly on special teams.

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