The Browns have a new candidate for a starting linebacker spot.
Adarius Taylor, who spent the past four years with Tampa Bay, agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal with the Browns, including $2.55 million guaranteed, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram on Wednesday.
Taylor, 28, played 15 games last year with a career-high 10 starts. He had 60 tackles, four tackles for loss, five passes defensed, an interception, a sack and a forced fumble.
He’s played 60 games in five years with 10 starts, totaling 108 tackles, two sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles.
The Browns released veteran starter Jamie Collins last week, creating an opening in the starting lineup.
Collins (6-foot-3, 250) played on the strong side. Taylor is 6-1, 230 and has experience at different spots, so the Browns will have to see where he fits with holdovers Joe Schobert (middle) and Christian Kirksey (weak side).
Taylor, undrafted out of Florida Atlantic, started his career with the Panthers in 2014. New Browns linebackers coach Al Holcomb held the same role in Carolina that season, and new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was on the Panthers staff.
Taylor could receive competition from veteran Ray-Ray Armstrong, who re-signed with the Browns on a one-year, $2.25 million deal. He joined the Browns prior to Week 8 last season and appeared in nine games.
Armstrong, 28, has played in 78 career games, recording 124 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two sacks on defense, while adding 31 special teams tackles.
Browns general manager John Dorsey turned to a familiar face to fill the role of second tight end behind David Njoku. Demetrius Harris, an unrestricted free agent from the Chiefs, agreed to a two-year deal.
Dorsey signed Harris as an undrafted free agent in 2013 while he was GM of the Chiefs. Harris (6-foot-7, 230 pounds) played basketball, not football, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and began his NFL career on the practice squad.
Harris, 27, has made 33 starts in 71 career games since 2014. He has 57 catches for 605 yards, a 10.6 average and six touchdowns as the backup to Pro Bowler Travis Kelce.
He’ll step into the role veteran Darren Fells filled last year. Dorsey cut Fells on Monday.
GOING, GOING …
The Browns expected to sell out their season ticket allotment even before the trade for receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Tuesday. Now they have no doubt.
A spokesman said there was a high renewal rate from last year before the March 8 deadline and the team had received a “significant” number of deposits for new accounts since the end of last season. Deposits are still being accepted and will be processed in the coming weeks in the order in which they were received to see who gets the opportunity to purchase season tickets.
Single-game tickets will go on sale after the schedule is released next month.
Defensive tackle Phil Taylor, the No. 21 pick by the Browns in 2011, announced his retirement on Twitter. He last played a game in the NFL in 2014 but had tried a comeback from injury. His last stop was with Washington last preseason but he was cut.
I’d like to thank the NFL and the Cleveland Browns for drafting me. It’s been a fun and tough 8 years. I’ve made my home in NE Ohio with my family. I love the Cleveland fans and can’t wait to give back to the community that supported me. I’m officially retiring! #DawgPound #4Life
— Phil Taylor (@PhilTaylor98) March 13, 2019
“I’d like to thank the NFL and the Cleveland Browns for drafting me,” he tweeted. “It’s been a fun and tough 8 years. I’ve made my home in NE Ohio with my family. I love the Cleveland fans and can’t wait to give back to the community that supported me. I’m officially retiring! #DawgPound #4Life”
Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor agreed to a two-year deal with the Chargers, leaving the Browns as a free agent after one season as expected. He opened the year as the starter, suffered a concussion in Week 3 and lost the job to Baker Mayfield.
The Browns seem comfortable with veteran Drew Stanton as the No. 2 quarterback after serving as the No. 3 last season.
** Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer tweeted at Mayfield and receiver Jarvis Landry, inviting them to a home run derby with him this year at Progressive Field.
** Former Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas signed with the Ravens. He had been connected to Cleveland in some reports.