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News » Jet remains a Jet, Bear now a Brown

Jet remains a Jet, Bear now a Brown

Jet remains a Jet, Bear now a Brown

It was another day of losing a player and gaining one for the Browns on Tuesday.

They signed Chicago free-agent offensive lineman John St. Clair to a three-year contract. The Chicago Sun-Times reported the deal is for $9 million, with $600,000 guaranteed.

Earlier, the Browns learned they would not add Jets restricted free-agent safety Abram Elam.

The Jets exercised their right to match the Browns' offer sheet to Elam of one year for $1.5 million. Under the rules for restricted free agents (three years' NFL experience), the Browns have no opportunity to counteroffer and Elam stays with the Jets - unless they trade him.

St. Clair, 31, is a versatile lineman who has started at left tackle, right tackle and left guard in nine seasons with the Bears, Dolphins and Rams.

The Bears wanted him to start at right tackle this season and reportedly offered him $4.5 million over three years. So the Browns' deal blew that one away.

In a statement, Browns GM George Kokinis said: "We are excited to add John to the team. He has played multiple positions along the line and will be a valuable addition to the team."

St. Clair is the second free-agent offensive lineman the Browns have added in a week. Previously they signed Seattle's Floyd Womack, 30, who has started at every position but center in the NFL.

These acquisitions join Ryan Tucker, who was retained after a drastic pay cut, and Rex Hadnot, as candidates to compete for the two starting positions on the right side. The Browns released Kevin Shaffer, last year's starting right tackle, last week.

The free-agent signings also would appear to strike offensive line as a target for the Browns in the early rounds of the draft.

Elam staying with the Jets means the Browns still have a void at safety left by the departure of Sean Jones to Philadelphia.

Hush, hush: For the second day in a row, the Browns declined to disclose which players are absent from coach Eric Mangini's voluntary off-season conditioning program. The off-season program is off limits to the media. The club has denied requests for player participation information.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: tgrossi@plaind.com, 216-999-4670

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 19, 2009

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