The Browns added depth, experience and ascending talent to both sides of the ball Thursday with the signing of the following seven unrestricted free agents.
DB T.J. Carrie
TE Darren Fells
OL Chris Hubbard
RB Carlos Hyde
DB Terrance Mitchell
DL Chris Smith
OL Donald Stephenson
“The overall goal was to stick to the plan,” Browns general manager John Dorsey said. “I give everybody in football operations credit for all the hard work they did within that plan. Anytime you can hit 80 percent of your mark you’ve done a pretty good job. I think we did a pretty good job of identifying talent and then when we had a chance to sit and talk with the representatives of those players in the three-day window, I thought we did a nice job in terms of negotiations by staying prudent, staying fair, acquiring players at the right price but still getting those players you know can help you moving forward.”
The signings come one day after the Browns announced the arrival of QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Jarvis Landry and DB Damarious Randall, who were respectively acquired in three separate trades.
“We have some holes and we’ll continue to address them,” Dorsey said. “The more good football players you have on your team, you’re creating competition and we always talk about creating competition in training camp. We will continue to add players to create competition. The only way you’re going to get any better in professional football is if you have competition day in and day out because it’s such a competitive sport. I think that’s the ultimate goal, not only get quality players at the top, but also build the back end of that roster up. That means being able to turn over every stone and find every avenue you can to acquire those players. We’ll explore every avenue to try to find players.”
Carrie (6-0, 205) is entering his fifth season and is coming off his most productive year as a professional. The former seventh-round pick out of Ohio University started 15 games for the Oakland Raiders and finished with nine passes defensed and 84 tackles. In four seasons with the Raiders, Carrie had 30 passes defensed and 168 tackles. He is a native of Antioch, Calif.
Fells (6-7, 270), who is entering his fifth NFL season out of California-Irvine, originally signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent in 2013, spent the following three seasons (2014-16) with Arizona and started 13 games in Detroit this past season. He has appeared in 54 career games with 37 starts and has recorded 57 receptions for 713 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season he appeared in all 16 games and totaled 17 receptions for 177 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdowns. He is a native of Fullerton, Calif.
Hubbard (6-4, 295), a former undrafted free agent out of Alabama-Birmingham, has been with the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2013 and started a career-best 10 games in 2017. Entering his fifth NFL season, Hubbard brings athleticism and versatility to an offensive line that will be without 10-time Pro Bowler Joe Thomas, who announced his retirement Wednesday, for the first time in 11 years. He is a native of Columbus, Ga.
Hyde (6-0, 235), a former second-round pick out of Ohio State, spent his first four NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He’s had success in both the run and pass games, accounting for at least 1,000 all-purpose yards the past two seasons. In 2017, he ran for 938 yards and had 350 receiving yards in 16 starts. For his career, he has 2,731 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns to go along with 109 receptions, 634 yards and three receiving touchdowns in 50 games, 36 of which he started. He is a native of Naples, Fla.
Mitchell (5-11, 190), a former seventh-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys out of Oregon, is entering his fifth NFL season. He spent time with the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears across the 2014-15 seasons before landing with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016. This past season, he appeared in 15 games with nine starts and finished with four interceptions and a team-high 18 passes defensed. Over his career, he’s appeared in 30 games and racked up 85 tackles, 27 passes defensed and five interceptions. He is a native of Sacramento, Calif.
Smith (6-1, 266), who is entering his fifth NFL season out of Arkansas, has appeared in 35 games as a reserve. Originally a fifth-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014, Smith spent his first three seasons with Jacksonville before being traded to the Cincinnati Bengals before the start of the 2017 season. He has logged 45 career tackles, 7.5 sacks, three passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Last year, he appeared in all 16 games and registered three sacks. He is a native of Mount Ulla, N.C.
Stephenson (6-6, 312), who enters his seventh season after spending the past two with the Denver Broncos, has appeared in 80 games and made 37 starts. A former third-round pick out of Oklahoma, Stephenson began his career in Kansas City, where he started 21 games over four seasons. He signed with Denver as an unrestricted free agent in 2016. He is a native of Kansas City, Mo.