NFL Free Agency: Browns Mock

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Nov 16, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett (15) throws a pass during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Mallett – In what could become a QB trade the Browns sign Ryan Mallett to compete for their opening as the starting quarterback. Brian Hoyer could find himself replacing Mallett in Houston. Mallett has had very little experience actually on the field in the NFL. He sat behind Tom Brady for awhile and then got hurt in Houston after finally getting a chance. It took him some time to get the playbook down and get a feel for his receivers but he played extremely well against the Browns. His big arm will excite Browns fans and he will help take advantage of the receivers we have added to the roster. He won’t come with a high salary to start out with but will have escalators built into his contract based on starting and performance. Mark Sanchez and Jake Locker are other free agent options. Getting a veteran QB to compete with Johnny Manziel is vital to the team’s off-season plan.

Stephen Paea – While many Browns fans are hoping for Ndamukong Suh to bolster the defensive line, he doesn’t fill their biggest need at nose tackle. Paea, the 2nd rated free agent interior defensive lineman according to PFF, does fit that need but he has some ability to also bounce outside at DE as well. The 6’1″ 300 pound Paea had 6 sacks last year for the Bears and is a monster in the middle of the line. His flexibility makes him useful and he will come much cheaper than Suh.

Stevan Ridley – While the Browns invested in Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, Farmer and Pettine will look for a veteran back who can help provide some stability to the rotation. Ben Tate struggled with this but the Free Agent class is littered with young vets that could supply the type of production and leadership that is needed. That should drive down the cost. If one of the backs they target gets a significantly better offer the team will just move on. Ridely, Shane Vereen, Ryan Matthews, Mark Ingram, Daniel Thomas and even C.J. Spiller could be the third head of the running back group next year. Ridley is an interesting back, one who seemed to get harmed by the Bill Bellichick school of hard knocks.

Next: Rounding It Up