Top 3 Free Agents for Cleveland Browns since 1999

With free agency under way and the Cleveland Browns making a few splashes, here are the top three signing since 1999.

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CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 4: Defensive lineman Orpheus Roye #99 of the Cleveland Browns lines up against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 4, 2005 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Jaguars defeated the Browns 20-14. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns have made a few big dips into free agency since the club returned in 1999. Some of them worked out very well, others ended in massive disappointments. Today we look at the top three free agent signings for the Cleveland Browns sign the franchise return in 1999.

With a lot of free agents to comb over, it's easy to forget some. So leave your favorite free agent signings in the comment section below. Let's start off with a few honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Tucker, RT

Ryan Tucker was one of the best offensive lineman that the Cleveland Browns have seen since its comeback. Signing with the Browns in 2002, Tucker was a stable force at the right tackle position for seven seasons in Cleveland.

Winning a Super Bowl with the St Louis Rams in 1999, Tucker helped the Browns to its only playoff appearance in 2002. Starting 71 games for the Browns during his tenure, he suffered a devastating knee injury in 2008 that ended his playing career.

Honorable Mention: Orpheus Roye, DT

Orpheus Roye was a very solid defensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns for eight seasons. Signing with the Browns in 2000 after spending four seasons in Pittsburgh, Roye quickly established himself as one of the best defensive players on the team.

Roye started 102 games during his Cleveland playing days and finished with 387 tackles, nine and a half sacks and four forced fumbles. He also had 44 tackles for a loss during that time span. Good old No. 99 for the Browns, Roye was an excellent free agent addition.

No. 3: Jamal Lewis, RB

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DENVER - SEPTEMBER 20: Running back Jamal Lewis #31 of the Cleveland Browns rushes against the Denver Broncos during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Browns 27-6. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Jamal Lewis joined the Cleveland Browns in 2007 after six seasons playing for the hated Baltimore Ravens. After tearing up the Browns year in and year out, Lewis was able to help Cleveland's offense reach peak production in 2007. He was brought in by former Ravens personnel guru and Browns GM Phil Savage.

Rushing for a whopping 1,304 yards and nine touchdowns during that season, Lewis was the bruising, smash mouth running back that Cleveland needed on its way to a 10-6 season and narrowly missing out on the playoffs. Lewis also chipped in 30 receptions for 248 yards and two more touchdowns through the air.

In 2008, Lewis was able to play in all 16 games and managed 1,002 yards rushing and four touchdowns on way to an awful 4-12 record, effectively ending Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage's time with the Browns.

Lewis, who was a team captain during his Cleveland tenure played in three seasons and rushed for 2,806 yards and 13 touchdowns with a 3.9 yard per carry average.

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No. 2: J.C. Tretter, Center

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CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 08: Center JC Tretter #64 of the Cleveland Browns talks to his teammates prior to the snap during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Bengals 27-19. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Browns signed J.C. Tretter to a three-year, $16.75 million contract in 2017 and that was one of the best deals this club has ever made. Tretter as an above average center in this league and has been Mr. Reliable ever since he stepped foot in Berea.

After playing in three seasons for the Green Bay Packers, the Browns front office team of Paul DePodesta and Sashi Brown added Tretter to play center in the offseason of 2017. Aside from drafting Myles Garrett, that may have been their best move as a front office.

An excelled locker room presence, Tretter has started in all 48 games for the Browns over the course of the last three seasons. He earned a three-year, $32.5 contract extension with former GM John Dorsey in November of 2019.

Tretter has only had four holding call go against him in his time thus far in Cleveland and he has played in 3,201 offensive snaps. Recently, Tretter has been named President of the NFLPA as he seems to have the esteem and respect of his peers.

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No. 1: Phil Dawson, Kicker

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OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 02: Phil Dawson #4 of the Cleveland Browns kicks a field goal against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on December 2, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

I know, pathetic that a kicker is No.1 on this list but hey, this is the Browns were talking about here. Dawson was originally a New England Patriot in 1998 but couldn't beat out Adam Vinatieri for the job. Dawson signed with the expansion Browns in 1999 and won the kicker battle in training camp of that season.

Dawson only went on to play the next 14 seasons in a Browns uniform and was outstanding to say the least. A team captain, Pro Bowler, and all around great teammate. Dawson finished his Browns career with 305 field goals made and a 84% field goals made percentage.

He was a career six-time NFL special teams player of the week during his career and is No.8 all-time in career field goals made with 441. The former Texas Longhorn also recorded one of the greatest field goals ever made in 2007 against the Bulls in a snow storm on the lakefront.

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Dawson new every square inch of his home stadium as it was essential for figuring out the gusty wind coming off the lakeshore. A forever great Cleveland Brown, Dawson earns No. 1 on our list of best free agent signings of all-time.