Free Agent Watch: Scratch Three Off the List

The Browns lost three potential free agents in a flurry of signing announcements on Friday afternoon. Fans are left to wonder... what now?

The Browns off-season player acquisition plans changed quickly on Friday afternoon, as three players who had attracted the team's interest were taken off the boards in a flurry of signings.

Late this afternoon, the Steelers announced that they had matched the offer sheet that the Browns had given to Oliver Ross. The $4.55 million, three-year deal recieved by Ross means that the Steelers will likely have to cut veteran starter Rich Tylski. The Browns still have Ryan Tucker as the sole new addition to the much-maligned 2001 starting offensive line.

The Browns running back situation continues unsettled as well, as the Houston Texans signed Bear RB James Allen to a one-year deal valued at around $1 million including his signing bonus. Allen will likely become the starter in Houston and arguably gives Chris Palmer a better running attack to work with in Texas than he ever had in Cleveland. Where have you gone Rashan Salaam?

Finally, the Eagles have signed LB Shawn Barber who will compete for a spot at the weakside linebacker position. Barber becomes the latest in a parade of Redskins who have moved North to Philly in recent years. The Browns had spoken to Barber last week, although Barber is an outside backer. The Browns are making little secret of the fact that they hope to upgrade the middle linebacker position, where Wali Rainer is the incumbent starter.

We will track the Browns over the weekend as they regroup.

- AB

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