By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on March 16, 2014
The Cleveland Browns have kicked off the 2014 free-agency period by signing running back Ben Tate, safety Donte Whitner and linebacker Karlos Dansby. These signings look great on paper and should help to turn around the franchise.
In the past, Cleveland's attempts to sign big-name players have proven futile, so let's take a look at the five biggest newsworthy free-agent signings in Cleveland Browns' history.
Joining the Browns in 2007, Lewis rushed for 1,000-plus yards in consecutive seasons. Lewis showed flashes of 2003, in which he rushed for over 2,000 yards. He played a key part in the Browns' 10-win season during his first year in Cleveland. The Browns ended up missing the playoffs and Lewis' career proved to be on its last legs, retiring after the 2009 season.
Browns stats: 40 games, 720 carries, 2,806 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Brought into Cleveland to backup Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb's signing was thought to be insignificant until he took advantage of his opportunities. Holcomb wound up taking over for Couch during the 2002 season, leading the Browns to their first and only playoff appearance since their return in 1999. Holcomb went on to appear in 14 games over the next two seasons, starting in 10.
Browns stats: 19 games, 3,438 yards, 26 touchdowns and 21 INT.
Vinny Testaverde signed with the Browns as a restricted free agent in 1992. After a tumultuous tenure in Tampa, Testaverde was given another shot when he started in place of Bernie Koser. Testaverde played three seasons in Cleveland and led the Browns to a playoff win in 1994. In 1996, he would move with the rest of the organization, and would be named to his first Pro Bowl.
Browns stats: 37 games, 7,255 yards, 47 touchdowns and 37 INT.
Not a huge name when he was signed, Jamir Miller led the Browns' defense for three seasons until suffering a career-ending injury prior to the 2002 season. Miller has the title of being the first Browns' player selected to the Pro Bowl when they returned in 1999. To date, he's the only free-agent signee in Cleveland's new era to be selected.
Browns stats: 47 games, 240 tackles, 22.5 sacks and two interceptions.
In 1995, Andre Rison signed a contract that made him the highest-paid receiver of all time. Rison would end up posting career lows and infuriating Browns' fans when he made comments favoring the Browns' move to Baltimore. He was released before he could put on a Ravens uniform, ending his stint with the franchise after one horrible season in Cleveland.
Browns stats: 16 games, 47 receptions, 701 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
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