Browns adding Winston to back up Watson

Published 9:34 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The Associated Press

Deshaun Watson has a new backup in Cleveland.

The Browns agreed Tuesday to a one-year deal with Jameis Winston that’s worth up to $8.7 million, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.

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The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the move can’t become official until the new league year begins Wednesday.

Joe Flacco, who went 4-1 and helped the Browns reach the playoffs last season after Watson was sidelined by a shoulder injury, didn’t receive a contract offer from the Browns, said his agent, Joe Linta.

“Yes, I still envision myself as a starter. However, the Lord has also called me to lead by impacting and increasing the men who are around me. Having the opportunity to work with Deshaun and help him be the best he can possibly be, is my main mission,” Winston told CBS Sports.

“Now, if Deshaun has to heal up for whatever reason, and I have to take a few games off of him, I’m going to be ready to do that; but I have to fulfill God’s purpose first before my own heart’s desire. Because ultimately I desire to win some Super Bowls, and this roster that Cleveland got, looks like they can do it.”

Also Tuesday, defensive tackle Shelby Harris announced on social media that he was re-signing with the Browns.

Winston spent the past four seasons as a spot starter in New Orleans, going 6-4. That followed five seasons in Tampa Bay, where the Buccaneers made him the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2015. Overall, Winston is 34-46 as a starter.

Second-year QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson also is on the Browns’ roster.

Also Tuesday, the Browns agreed with former Buffalo Bills running back Nyheim Hines on a one-year deal worth up to $3.5 million, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told the AP.

Hines, who also is a kick return specialist, was released by the Bills earlier this month. The seventh-year pro missed all of last season after a boating accident in which he suffered a torn ACL when he was struck by a jet skier in North Carolina.

He joined the Bills in a midseason trade from Indianapolis in 2022, and although he wasn’t an impact player on offense, he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns against New England in the regular-season finale.

Hines was a fourth-round pick by the Colts in 2018.