October 2, 2014

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Browns Notes: Cornerback Aaron Berry visits Cleveland, according to report

Aaron Berry

Aaron Berry

The Browns’ search for a cornerback included a visit from Aaron Berry.

The New York Post reported Berry visited the Browns on Monday. A team spokesman wouldn’t confirm the visit.

Berry missed all of last season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament on the first day of training camp with the Jets when he collided with a receiver. New Browns coach Mike Pettine was his defensive coordinator with the Jets in 2012.

Berry, 25, was undrafted out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 and has played in only 12 games with four starts. He was in line to become a starter with the Lions in 2012 but was cut after two arrests in the same offseason.

He was suspended by the league for three games for violating the personal conduct policy, then joined the Jets for seven games.

Berry was arrested on a drunken driving charge, then three charges of simple assault. He brandished a gun, according to reports.

Berry (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) was primarily the nickelback for the Lions in 2010 and ‘11. He had an interception and 13 passes defensed.

He’s also dealt with shoulder and quadriceps injuries.

The Browns are in the market for a starting cornerback to pair with Pro Bowler Joe Haden, which would allow Buster Skrine to play his more natural nickelback role. The free agent cornerback options are shrinking.

The Browns were reportedly interested in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but he signed a five-year, $39 million deal with the Giants on Monday. They also discussed a trade for Darrelle Revis before he was cut by Tampa Bay and signed with the Patriots.

FARMER’S TAKE
Ray Farmer is in his first free agency as a general manager. In eight days, he’s signed inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, strong safety Donte Whitner, running back Ben Tate, tight end Jim Dray, Hawkins and special teamer/cornerback Isaiah Trufant.

Farmer released a statement assessing the process.

“Free agency is well under way,” he said. “We’ve added several players to the roster that will continue to push in the direction we want this team to go. A couple key things to keep in mind: What we’re doing is finding talented players that can be good starters in this league, and guys that can compete to push those guys that end up being the starters.

“Since we last talked about the state of our roster, we’ve added Jim Dray, Ben Tate and now Andrew Hawkins — all offensive guys who we think can help advance our mission. These acquisitions are about steadying our ship and moving Cleveland closer to competing in our division and competing for championships.

“Like Coach Pett has articulated, we want guys that play like Browns, and we feel like every player we’ve added in free agency embodies the characteristics we want: Passion, toughness, relentlessness, competitiveness, accountability and productivity.”

OFFICIAL MONEY
The deal for Tate looks even better than originally reported.

It was announced Saturday as two years, $7 million, but is really $6.2 million, according to the NFLPA files. He will get a $1.5 million signing bonus and $2.5 million guaranteed. His salary for 2015 is $2 million and there are annual $750,000 roster bonuses and $500,000 incentives for yards.

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @scottpetrak.