Browns add Washington, Zastudil to free-agent haul
The Browns are having the kind of offseason we were supposed to... :roll:
For the Cleveland Browns, the second day of free agency apparently is just an extension of the first, with the only difference being a shift toward addressing defensive shortcomings.
One of the NFL's most aggressive franchises at the outset of the free agency period, the Browns on Sunday added two more players, reaching an agreement with veteran defensive tackle Ted Washington and signing punter Dave Zastudil. The moves continue the momentum generated on Saturday, when the Browns signed center LeCharles Bentley, left offensive tackle Kevin Shaffer and wide receiver Joe Jurevicius.
Contract details on the Zastudil deal were not immediately available. Washington will sign a two-year contract worth $7 million. Cleveland entered free agency with $27.1 million in available cap funds, the fourth most in the league, and general manager Phil Savage and coach Romeo Crennel have used that advantage to quickly upgrade their roster.
In Washington, who was recently released by the Oakland Raiders for cap reasons, the Browns have netted one of the NFL's most effective interior defenders against the run. The only downside with Washington is that he will be 38 years old next month. But he started all 16 games for Oakland in 2005 and the Browns obviously feel he can still provide muscle at the nose tackle spot.
A 14-year veteran, Washington will be joining his seventh different franchise in a long and productive career that has included four Pro Bowl appearances. A few other teams, notably the Baltimore Ravens, had demonstrated interest in Washington over the past week, since his release.
The former Louisville standout has appeared in 215 games and has registered 685 tackles, 34Ã‚Â½ sacks, eight forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions. He has always been an inside anchor against the run, and the kind of wide-bodied player who occupies plenty of blockers. Washington has played in the past with San Francisco (1991-93), Denver (1994), Buffalo (1995-2000), Chicago (2001-2002), New England (2003) and Oakland (2004-2005).
Zastudil is a four-year veteran, the Ravens' fourth-round pick in the 2002 draft, and blessed with a strong leg. He and Jason Baker of Carolina were viewed as the top two punters in the free agent pool and it had been rumored that the Browns would pursue him.
Like Jurevicius and Bentley, he is a Cleveland-area native, played at Bay Village (Ohio) High School, and now will have an opportunity to perform in his hometown.
Zastudil, 27, has averaged 41.6 yards gross and 37.1 yards net on 327 punts. He has 89 kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line and just 32 touchbacks, but has had three punts blocked in four seasons. The former Ohio University has allowed 160 punts to be returned for an average of 9.3 yards.
The best part of my day is when I get down on my knees, with my head in my hands, and thank GOD for everything he has given me.