The Cleveland Browns have signed TE Ben Watson to a 3 year, $12 million contract, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Cleveland struggled at the TE position in 2009 following the trade of Kellen Winslow and the loss of veteran Steve Heiden to injury. After Robert Royal was likewise injured, the team used a succession of players pulled from the waiver wire, with varying levels of success.
A former first-round selection by the Patriots, Watson has spent his entire career in New England. The 6’3” TE grabbed 29 passes for 404 yards last season, with five touchdowns, a fairly typical performance for Watson over the last three years.
Watson’s signing continues the Browns tendency to sign relatively unheralded but productive players through the free agency period. Like Tony Pashos and Scott Fujita, Watson is somewhat of a coach’s player, and regarded as highly intelligent. He was inconsistent catching the ball in 2009, however, and has had some injury problems throughout his career. 2009 marked the first season where he was able to appear in all 16 games since coming into the league in 2004.