3 free agent tight ends the Cleveland Browns could affordably add

Vikings, Irv Smith Jr. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Vikings, Irv Smith Jr. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /
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Vikings, Irv Smith Jr. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /

Browns free agent TE option No. 1: Irv Smith, Jr.

In 2019, the Minnesota Vikings used a second-round pick (No. 50 overall) on Alabama tight end Irv Smith, Jr. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder has NFL bloodlines as his dad was a first-round pick out of Notre Dame back in 1993.

While he spent most of his career with the New Orleans Saints, he was a member of the Cleveland Browns 1999 roster and had 24 receptions and a touchdown. As for Smith, Jr., he showed out at the Scouting Combine with insane hands and a 4.64 time in the 40-yard dash.

It was enough to land him in Minnesota, where he was coached by Kevin Stefanski. Serving as the offensive coordinator, Stefanski helped Smith record 311 yards and two touchdowns on 36 receptions as a rookie.

He followed that up with a strong sophomore campaign but then missed all of 2021 due to surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Smith then missed nine games in 2022 due to an ankle injury.

While the injuries are concerning, they could help Cleveland land him at a discounted rate. Smith might be willing to sign a one-year “prove-it” deal and playing for Stefanski might be enticing for him as he looks to break the bank in 2024.