2018 free agency: Browns have one of NFL’s smallest crops of in-house free agents

Posted Mar 6, 2018

Cleveland has just 4 unrestricted free agents on current roster

The Browns’ roster will have a different feel to it by the start of OTAs, and a major contributor to it will be how the team utilizes free agency.

Cleveland is poised to make significant additions to its roster, much like it did last year, if general manager John Dorsey and a new-look player personnel group, spearheaded by assistant general manager Eliot Wolf and vice presidents of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith and Andrew Berry, to chart that course. The Browns are in a unique spot, of course, as they hold the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the 2018 NFL Draft and also boast three second-rounders.

There’s another under-the-radar factor working in the Browns’ favor: Perhaps no team in the NFL has fewer decisions to make with its own class of impending free agents.

The Browns have just four players who fall in the category of unrestricted free agent, a group led by running back Isaiah Crowell.

Cleveland does have a number of players who fall into other free agent categories, such as restricted and exclusive rights.

Here’s a full breakdown of the entire class of players, according to

Unrestricted free agents

RB Isaiah Crowell

He’s led the team in rushing in each of the past three seasons and is coming off a 2017 campaign in which he amassed 853 yards and two touchdowns. He ranks eighth on the Browns’ all-time rushing list with 3,118 for his career.

LB Tank Carder

The special teams captain is one of the longest tenured Browns on the roster. He missed all of 2017 with a knee injury.

DL Lavar Edwards

Signed late in the season, the fifth-year veteran played in three games and had two tackles.

OL Marcus Martin

The fourth-year interior lineman was active for one game this season but did not play.

Restricted free agents

LB Josh Keyes

He was primarily a special teams contributor in his eight games with the Browns, notching six tackles.

DL Jamie Meder

His fourth year with the Browns was cut short by a season-ending ankle injury. He had 13 tackles in 10 games as a rotational player on the defensive line.

Exclusive rights free agents

WR Josh Gordon

After missing the good part of three seasons because of an NFL suspension, Gordon caught 18 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown in Cleveland’s final five games of 2017.

OL Chris Barker

Missed all of 2017 with an Achilles injury.

WR Matt Hazel

Added to the roster in December, Hazel was inactive for the Browns' final three games.

QB Kevin Hogan

Started once and served as the backup for more than half of the season. He completed 46-of-75 passes for 517 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.

FB Danny Vitale

Appeared in every game but the finale this past season and notched six starts. He was almost exclusively used as a blocker and added three catches for 19 yards.

OL Austin Reiter

Appeared in all 16 games almost exclusively on special teams. Logged snaps as an extra lineman in four games.

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