Browns re-signing safety Harrison with 1-year deal; add QB Dobbs

Published 5:44 pm Friday, April 8, 2022

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns added another quarterback as they try to figure out what to do with Baker Mayfield.

Cleveland agreed to a one-year contract with backup QB Josh Dobbs on Friday, a deal first tweeted by his agent Mike McCartney and confirmed by a person familiar with the contract who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Earlier, the Browns agreed to re-sign safety Ronnie Harrison on a one-year deal, his agent Drew Rosenhaus told AP.

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The Browns were in the market for a third quarterback after Nick Mullens, who made one start for them last season, signed as a free agent with the Las Vegas Raiders. The 27-year-old Dobbs spent two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but only had spot duty in six games.

A fourth-round pick in 2017 from Tennessee, Dobbs was placed on injured reserve before last season.

Cleveland’s quarterback situation took a dramatic turn last month when the team pulled off the stunning trade with Houston for Deshaun Watson, who remains entangled in a legal situation in Texas.

Mayfield demanded to be traded, and remains on the Browns’ roster while they look for a team willing to take him and his $18.8 million contract for 2022. Cleveland signed Jacoby Brissett to be Watson’s backup.

While Mayfield isn’t expected to participate in the Browns’ voluntary offseason program starting on April 19, Watson is planning to participate. The three-time Pro Bowler is still fighting civil lawsuits filed by 22 female massage therapists accusing him of sexual assault.

Two grand juries in Texas declined to indict Watson on any criminal complaints, but the civil cases are in their early stages.

Watson has given depositions for some of them, and earlier this week a judge ruled he must answer questions about his relationship with 18 women who came to his defense when the original complaints were filed with Houston police.

Watson has been adamant he didn’t force himself or harass any of the women.

He also faces NFL discipline. The league is conducting an independent investigation to see if Watson violated its personal conduct policy. Commissioner Roger Goodell said there is no timetable on when the inquiry will be concluded.

Watson will need to be in Texas for some of his legal proceedings, but last month one of his attorneys filed a letter saying the parties had agreed not to schedule any trials from Aug. 1, 2022, through March 1, 2023, a period which would encompass the upcoming season.

Harrison’s return gives the Browns some depth at a position that has been challenging to get settled because of injuries the past two seasons.

Harrison has shown flashes of being a productive player, but the 24-year-old — he turns 25 on April 18 — has also been prone to mistakes. He made 11 starts and played in 12 games last season, but was also inactive for three games.

Harrison was ejected from the Browns’ season opener in Kansas City last season after shoving a Chiefs assistant coach. He was also benched for the start of Cleveland’s win over Detroit for unknown disciplinary reasons.

The Browns acquired the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Harrison in a trade with Jacksonville before the 2020 season. The Jaguars selected the former Alabama standout in the third round of the 2018 draft.

Harrison has played in 23 games for the Browns. He has 96 tackles and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown in 2020 against Indianapolis.

Cleveland’s secondary has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons. Safety Grant Delpit returned last season after missing his rookie year in 2020 with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Harrison was picked up after Delpit got hurt in training camp.