Countdown to The Draft
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By: Will Burge *UPDATED AT 7:10pm*
-The Cleveland Browns are reportedly close to signing defensive end Frostee Rucker pending a physical. Rucker saw the most playing time of his 7 year career last season with the Bengals, starting 11 games and posting 44 tackles and 4 sacks. In his career, he has 19 starts and 7 sacks.
The 28 year old has spent all five of his NFL seasons with the Bengals. This adds an interesting wrinkle into the right end position.
As I reported yesterday, Jayme Mitchell, who began last season as the starter, was upset about his playing time down the stretch. A league source said yesterday that his agent had reached out to the Browns several times since the combine but had not heard back.
Rucker would be the leading candidate for the starting job but will have to beat out Mitchell, Emmanuel Stephens (who had three starts last season) and Marcus Benard.
He also comes along with baggage off the field. Rucker was charged with battery and vandalism in 2006.
**Updated: The deal is reportedly worth $21 Million over 5 years with $8 Million guaranteed.
-Browns free agent defensive back Mike Adams will apparently be visiting the Denver Broncos.
He tweeted about a half hour ago, “Headed to arpt clev fans.. Unfortunately not to clev...i will visit DENVER....”
If Adams leaves in free agency the Browns have plenty of depth to fill the void. Buster Skrine and Eric Hagg were rookies last season that really impressed the front office. They stand to see significant playing time this season.
-The National Football Post is reporting that the Browns will release G Eric Steinbach. Steinbach was reportedly asked to take a significant pay cut in late February after missing the entire 2011 season because of a surgery to repair a bulging back disc.
The two sides were not able to agree on a new deal and Steinbach will now hit the free agent market as soon as he is officially released.
According to his agent, Steinbach expects to play at least four more years in his career and will be cleared to resume football related activities on April 15th.
He was expected to make around $6 Million this season which frees up more cap space for the Browns. Jason Pinkston, who filled in for Steinbach last season, is expected to keep the job.
-Peyton Hillis has reportedly agreed to terms with the Kansas City Cheifs. About three minutes before that report came out, Montario Hardesty tweeted "excited" on his twitter account. I do not know if there was a connection, but he certainly has reason to be excited now.
It is hard to imagine the Browns putting all their eggs in the Hardesty basket, however. He has a track record of injuries at the collegiate and professional levels. Look for the Browns to draft a running back with one of their 9 picks.
Hillis' deal is reportedly for 1 year and worth $3 Million.
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