The Browns’ first move of free agency was keeping one of their own.
Center Ethan Pocic, who was scheduled to be a free agent, will re-sign, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram on Monday. The deal is reportedly for three years and $18 million.
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Pocic, 27, was signed last year as an insurance policy for the interior of the line. He became the starting center when Nick Harris suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason opener.
Pocic played really well, with Pro Football Focus ranking him third at the position. He was missed when he was sidelined for four games with a knee injury suffered against the Bills on Nov. 20.
Retaining Pocic after signing right tackle Jack Conklin to an extension during last season means all five starters will return on the line.
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COMING BACK II
The Browns made a minor move as free agency got going, agreeing Sunday night to a one-year contract with backup cornerback A.J. Green, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle.
Green was undrafted in 2020, played two games as a rookie, then 12 in 2021 and 17 in 2022 with two total starts. He gives the Browns an option as a nickelback besides Greg Newsome II, who would prefer to play on the outside.
Green was an exclusive rights free agent but wasn’t tendered by the Browns. Instead, they agreed to re-sign him.
Safety John Johnson III, who will be cut, has drawn interest from the Chargers, according to ESPN. He’d return to Los Angeles and be reunited with coach Brandon Staley, who was his coordinator with the Rams.
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