By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
After a fast start in free agency, the brakes were applied to the Browns.
Or should we say the bad breaks?
For about 24 hours, the Browns pursued a trade for Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis, who was a defensive MVP under Mike Pettine with the New York Jets. But the talks cooled, reportedly, when Revis declined to restructure his gargantuan contract, which pays him $16 million a year.
And rather than pay a roster bonus of $1.5 million due today, the Bucs appear poised to simply release Revis.
The Browns could still be in the hunt. But many believe that given the choice of picking his own team, Revis would first look toward a Super Bowl contender like New England. The Patriots lost cornerback Aqib Talib to Denver late Tuesday night and now could pursue Revis.
Meanwhile, reports Wednesday morning said the Cincinnati Bengals intend to match the offer sheet the Browns gave to 5-7 slot receiver Andrew Hawkins, who is a restricted free agent. Hawkins agreed to the Browns’ four-year offer for $12.2 million, including $5.3 million guaranteed.
The Bengals’ initial one-year contract tender was $1.431 million, which would not have compensated them with a draft choice if Hawkins left. Hawkins was cut by the Browns at a rookie camp in 2008; now it appears they negotiated a nice raise for him.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Browns agreed to terms with safety Donte Whitner and linebacker Karlos Dansby. Whitner, a Cleveland native formerly with San Francisco and Buffalo, replaces T.J. Ward, who signed with Denver. Dansby, formerly with Arizona (two stints) and Miami, replaces D’Qwell Jackson, who was released and signed with Indianapolis.
The Browns added to their defense later by agreeing to terms with former Jets cornerback Isaiah Trufant. The news was Tweeted by Trufant’s agent, Doug Hendrickson.
Trufant, 31, is 5-8 and 170 pounds. He banged around five years in the Arena League and United Football League before joining the Jets in 2010. Trufant was claimed by the Eagles in 2011, and then released, and rejoined the Jets for the past three seasons.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hastage #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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