The deadline for the Browns to tag potential unrestricted free agents with either the franchise or transition tag has come and gone without the Browns using either designation.
The 4 p.m. deadline to do so was Tuesday at 4 pm.
Last week, at the NFL Combine, Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown said if the Browns were to use the tag it likely would be on safety Tashaun Gipson.
"We don't expect to,'' Brown said at the time. "We know those are kind of tools in the toolbox here but we don't expect to do that.''
The franchise figure for safeties is $10,806,000 and the transition number if $9,116,000. If the Browns were to place the franchise or transition tag on Gipson and no one made him an offer, he'd either play for that salary in 2016 or the Browns would sign him to a long-term deal.
Other potential free agents for the Browns are right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and receiver Travis Benjamin. Center Alex Mack is also likely to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Brown said the team is trying to re-sign all of their free agents and met with their agents at the NFL Combine last week.
At last report, none were close and each will likely become free agents on March 9th.
Mack's case is different because he can opt out of the remaining three years of his contract on March 4th. Reports indicate that Mack would like to stay, but the Browns will have to make him an offer by then, one likely to be around $10 million a year.
Schwartz and Gipson are believed to be looking to make upwards of $8.5 million or more a year. The franchise tag for offensive lineman is in excess of $13 million, while the tag for wide receivers is in excess of $14 million.
"We've identified the guys that we feel like really can help us and fit within the schemes that we'll be running,'' Brown said last week. "And so it is important for us to keep our own, I think it says something to the locker room when you reward guys that do it the right way and make sure that they understand that being here in Cleveland we want to build through the draft certainly but we also need to retain our guys when we get to free agency.
The Browns can still come to terms with the potential free agents, but other teams can begin negotiationg with them on March 7.
The OBR's Lane Adkins offered some updates on the progress or lack of it in Tuesday's 'Fast Lane' in the premium portion of the site:
Benjamin--The Browns and the rep for WR Travis Benjamin have again discussed contract terms (which aren't far off). At the present there is no deal in place, while both sides claim the possibility is very reasonable.
Mack-- The Browns and rep for center Alex Mack have talked and little to nothing has changed. The Browns are fully aware Mack wants to be the highest paid center, and the team has been contemplating making the significant offer.
Schwartz--The Browns anticipate RT Mitchell Schwartz will enter FA, which the Browns believe the salary could rival a double-digit yearly average after bonuses and guarantees. The organization will not go to that level.
Gipson-- Slow talks between the org and safety Tashaun Gipson have produced little movement, but theOBR has heard the Browns will kick-up their intensity.
Craig Robertson-- There is a belief between the org and player that LB Craig Robertson will return. An agreement isn't done at this time.