Sep 21, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns helmet on the field before a game against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen has signed his second-round tender agreement, the club announced on its website.
The deal will pay Kitchen $1.542 million this year, after which he will can become an unrestricted free agent in March. Kitchen is the third of the Browns’ four restricted free agents to sign new deals with the club, joining linebacker Craig Robertson and safety Johnson Bademosi.
The only holdout is Pro Bowl safety Tashaun Gipson, who is skipping the voluntary portion of the team’s off-season program as he is seeking a long-term deal with the Browns.
Kitchen originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent out of The Kent State University in 2012. He was released prior to the start of the regular season and the Browns claimed him off of waivers.
In three seasons with the Browns, the 6-foot-1, 330-pound Kitchen has appeared in 40 games. Last season he made three starts after Phil Taylor was lost to injury, making a career-high 43 tackles.
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It is a smart play by Kitchen to sign his deal. The Browns added Randy Starks in free agency, and draft picks Danny Shelton, Nate Orchard and Xavier Cooper, to a defensive line position group that already included Desmond Bryant, Taylor, John Hughes, Billy Winn and Armonty Bryant.
“You know you are building a good roster when you realize there are some good football players that might end up on the outside looking in,” head coach Mike Pettine recently told the team’s website regarding the defensive line. “That was our goal this offseason to turn what might’ve been perceived as a weakness into a strength.”
While some of those players, most notably Orchard and Armonty Bryant, are expected to play in more of a pass-rushing role, the defensive line rotation is getting exceedingly crowded, with 13 players currently listed at the position. And Kitchen can’t escape the fact that he was part of the group that finished last in the NFL against the run in 2014.
While Pettine likes to say you can’t have too many defensive backs, you probably can have too many defensive linemen, so with Taylor still limited after off-season surgery and Shelton not participating in Organized Team Activities, Kitchen needs to be in front of the coaches as much as possible to potentially earn a roster spot.
How do you feel about the current state of the Cleveland Browns’ defensive line?