Browns add two veteran defenders

Team announces signings of former Pro Bowl cornerback, defensive tackle

Last week, we called it the ‘lull before the storm’.

After a very slow opening week of outside signings, it appears the Browns are starting to make a run at several players in the second wave of free agency.

On Monday, the Browns announced they had signed former Green Bay Pro Bowl cornerback Tramon Williams to a contract and multiple reports said the team has also signed former Miami Pro Bowl defensive lineman Randy Starks.

The OBR’s Lane Adkins says that talks with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe are ongoing, as well.

Williams joins the Browns as an unrestricted free agent after playing the last eight seasons with the Packers. The Browns announced Williams’ signing in a press release. Defensive lineman Randy Starks was also reported to have agreed to terms, but his signing wasn’t confirmed by the team.

“Tramon is a really good and consistent player,” GM Ray Farmer said in the release announcing the signing. “He has had success in this league because he’s a pro’s pro who believes great preparation leads to great performance. We are very happy to be able to sign a player of his caliber to our secondary.”

Williams celebrated his 32nd birthday signing a reported three-year contract with the Browns for approximately $21 million per ESPN.

Williams (6-0, 202) started every game for the Packers last season and he has missed only one game since 2007.

“I take a lot of pride in that,” Williams said. “You never know why guys do it. I'm not a guy who does it for accolades. I can go about it and don't care if anybody ever knows. Whatever helps the team win, that's the only thing I really care about.”

Last season, Williams tied for the team lead with three interceptions, giving him 22 since 2010 (including playoffs), which ranks second in the league among active players behind only Richard Sherman of Seattle.

Williams is expected to compete for the starting cornerback position opposite of Joe Haden that was held by Buster Skrine, who signed with the Jets as an unrestricted free agent last week.

“It's going to be awesome,” Williams said. “I'll be glad to join those guys and help those guys with whatever they need.

“I see where these guys are going and I think I can help them go to where they want to go,” he said. “They had a great defense last year with a lot of young guys on the team. I'm a veteran guy and I hope I can take them to another level.”

Williams went to the Pro Bowl after the 2010 season when he had six interceptions and 20 passes broken up.

“Tramon is an experienced, versatile and productive corner that has played at a very high level throughout his entire career,” Mike Pettine said. “He is a good fit for any defense because his impressive ball skills have made him an accomplished playmaker. He can play man, press or play off and be successful. Those are attributes that are very important for our defensive backs. Tramon is a high-quality person who comes from a winning tradition and we look forward to seeing the positive impact he will have on our team.”

Williams said he’s excited to help the Browns as they strive for the playoffs.

“I know this is a good spot for me,” Williams said. “It carries the same tradition Green Bay had. I'm just ready for a new chapter in my life.”

Earlier in the day, ESPN reported that the Browns had also signed Starks to a two-year, $8 million contract.

Starks (6-3, 305) was released by the Dolphins last week to make room for the signing of Ndamukong Suh. Starks was scheduled to make $5 million this year with Miami.

Starks, 31, started 15 games for Miami last year and had 28 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He made the Pro Bowl in 2010 and 2012.

Starks spent the past seven seasons in Miami and the first four of his career with the Titans after being drafted in the third-round from Maryland.

Starks is expected to challenge immediately for a starting role in the Browns' 3-4 hybrid scheme and will likely take the place of unrestricted free agent Ahtyba Rubin, who is not expected back.


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