Browns find help inside AFC North with Bengals DT Billings

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns stayed inside their division — and state borders — to add some defensive help.

Cleveland beefed up its front by agreeing to a one-year contract with free agent Andrew Billings, who spent the past three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. His agency, SportsTrust Advisors, announced the move on Twitter with a posting that read: “Same state, new team, Congrats, @BillingsAndrew!”

A fourth-round pick in 2016 by Cincinnati, Billings will give the Browns some depth up front and potentially a starter to play alongside Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi, who can both stop the run and get to the quarterback.

The 25-year-old Billings started 37 games after missing his rookie season with a knee injury. He started 30 games in the past two seasons and made 67 tackles, 3 1-2 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in that span.

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The 6-foot-1, 328-pound Billings is the third defensive free agent locked up in the past 24 hours by first-time Browns general manager Andrew Berry. On Wednesday, he agreed to deals with linebacker B.J. Goodson and safety Karl Joseph.

While the NFL has loosened its policy on announcing deals in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Browns have not yet officially announced any of their free-agent signings. Typically, teams must wait until prospective players complete their physicals before contracts can be finalized, signed and made public.

Earlier this week, the team reached contract agreements with free agent right tackle Jack Conklin, tight end Austin Hooper, and quarterback Case Keenum. The Browns also agreed to acquire fullback Andy Janovich in a trade from the Denver Broncos in exchange for a 2021 seventh-round draft pick.

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