NFL free agency began Tuesday at 4 p.m. with the start of the new league year. The Browns, with approximately $50 million in salary cap space and plenty of needs, were busy right away, agreeing to deals with strong safety Donte Whitner and inside linebacker Karlos Dansby. The team is expected to announce the moves today.
Here are the latest news, reports and rumors for Day 2 of free agency:
** The Browns are interested in Bills defensive lineman Alex Carrington, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported. He also mentioned the Rams as a suitor.
Carrington (6-foot-5, 301 pounds) is a versatile lineman with nine starts in four seasons with Buffalo. He started all three games he played last year, totaling 10 tackles before suffering a torn quadriceps. New Browns coach Mike Pettine was coordinator in Buffalo last year.
Carrington, 26, has 53 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble in 44 career games.
** Houston running back Ben Tate is visiting the Browns today, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late this morning.
The Browns, however, wouldn’t confirm the visit. The team’s policy under new general manager Ray Farmer is to confirm a visit once the player has arrived.
Tate would be a good fit in new coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s offense, as they share a history with the zone-blocking scheme. Tate has been connected to the Browns since Week 3 of last season when Trent Richardson was traded to the Colts.
Tate, 25, missed time and played with broken ribs last season. He played in 14 games, rushing 181 times for 771 yards (a 4.3 average) and four touchdowns.
He has 1,992 rushing yards in three seasons with a 4.7 average and 10 touchdowns. Tate, a second-round pick, was behind Arian Foster on the depth chart with the Texans.
The Browns never found a replacement for Richardson last season and ranked tied for 27th in rushing with 86.4 yards per game.
** The Browns will likely have to try again to find a slot receiver.
According to multiple reports this morning, the Bengals will match the offer sheet the Browns agreed to with wideout Andrew Hawkins on Tuesday. He’s a restricted free agent, so the Bengals have five days to match the offer after Hawkins signs it.
The deal with Cleveland is four years, $12.2 million, including more than $4 million guaranteed, NFL Network reported.
Hawkins, who turned 28 on Monday, is 5-foot-7, 180 pounds and attended the University of Toledo. He missed the first half of last season with an ankle injury, catching 12 passes for 199 yards in eight games.
In three years, he has 86 catches for 995 yards and four touchdowns. His best year was in 2012, when he made his only two career starts and caught 51 passes for 533 yards and four touchdowns.
Pittsburgh’s Emmanuel Sanders and New England’s Julian Edelman remain possible targets for Cleveland. Sanders caught 67 passes last year for 740 yards and six touchdowns in 10 starts and 16 games. Edelman started 11 games with 105 catches, 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.
Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported the Ravens are interested in Edelman.
** Special teamer and backup cornerback Isaiah Trufant reached a deal to join the Browns, according to his agent, Doug Hendrickson.
New Browns coach Mike Pettine was Jets defensive coordinator for three of Trufant’s four years.
Trufant (5-8, 170 pounds) is 31 years old. He’s started one of 39 games in four years, totaling 46 tackles and two passes defensed. He played in arena leagues and the United Football League before joining the Jets.
Trufant’s older brother, Marcus, played for the Seattle Seahawks and his younger brother, Desmond, was a first-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons last year.
** USA Today’s Brent Sobleski reported the Browns could reach a deal with inside linebacker Arthur Moats (6-2, 250) today. He started 12 games last year in Buffalo, with Pettine as defensive coordinator, recording 54 tackles.
He turns 26 Friday and has 20 career starts with 141 tackles.