The Cleveland Browns’ five biggest under-the-radar winners of free agency, as the team looks poised to make a run at the playoffs in 2020.
The major free agents, and even the second wave have come and gone, and the Cleveland Browns were no strangers to the transaction wire.
By most accounts, the Browns improved their roster, as it’s clear that new GM Andrew Berry and first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski are making a run for the playoffs in year one.
This list of players doesn’t mean that newly players are winners. I mean, of course they’re winners.
Here’s a look at the Browns’ five biggest winners from the free agency period of the offseason.
1. Chris Hubbard, RT
Chris Hubbard lost his starting job at right tackle following the Browns’ signing of Titans’ free agent Jack Conklin. How could a guy who got demoted and took a paycut be a free agency winner? For starters, he could be unemployed at the moment.
Instead, the Browns signaled they’d like to keep the veteran tackle, and rather than cutting him lose, re-worked his contract.
Keeping Hubbard in mix is a huge win for the position group, because a player who started the past two years is now the sixth or seventh lineman in the rotation. Hubbard has some job security, plus, if he plays 90 percent of the snaps, he’ll be able to opt out of his contract and hit the open market where a more lucrative offer may be waiting.
Hubbard carries a base salary of $2.1 million, while his cap hit rings in at $3.6 million. Had the Browns not restructured the deal, the 28-year-old would’ve carried a cap hit of $7.268 million.
That’s the way it goes with NFL contracts. Few see the end of a deal, as the money usually comes in the first the first year or two by way of guarantee.