Farmer: 'We find talent that can start'

With Tuesday's signing of Andrew Hawkins to a four-year, $13.6 million contract, the Cleveland Browns have now added six players, three each on offense and defense, since the start of the NFL's new league year last week.

In addition to Hawkins, the Browns have signed tight end Jim Dray, running back Ben Tate, safety Donte Whitner, inside linebacker Karlos Dansby and cornerback Isaiah Trufant, all of whom general manager Ray Farmer believes will make an impact for the team.

"We've added several players to the roster that will continue to push in the direction we want this team to go," Farmer said in a statement released by the Browns on Tuesday afternoon. "A couple key things to keep in mind: what we're doing is finding talented players that can be good starters in this league, and guys that can compete to push those guys that end up being the starters.

"Like Coach (Mike Pettine) has articulated, we want guys that play like Browns, and we feel like every player we've added in free agency embodies the characteristics we want: passion, toughness, relentlessness, competitiveness, accountability and productivity."

After signing Whitner, Dansby and Trufant in the first two days of free agency, the Browns switched their focus to offense.

In Dray, they signed a fifth-year tight end with 33 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns in four years with the Arizona Cardinals. Known more for his blocking, Dray is coming off his best season as a pass catcher, as he turned 26 receptions into 215 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games, including 15 starts.

Tate spent the first three years of his NFL career with the Houston Texans, where he totaled 1,992 yards and 10 touchdowns on 21 carries while backing up one of the league's most productive rushers, Arian Foster.

Last season, Tate rushed for 771 yards and four touchdowns on 181 carries, despite fighting through broken ribs for much of the year.

The 5-foot-7, 180-pound Hawkins spent his first three years in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, where the University of Toledo product gained 995 yards and scored four touchdowns on 86 receptions.

Hawkins' best season came in 2012, when he caught 51 passes for 533 yards and four touchdowns.

"Since we last talked about the state of our roster, we've added Jim Dray, Ben Tate and now Andrew Hawkins -- all offensive guys who we think can help advance our mission," Farmer said. "These acquisitions are about steadying our ship and moving Cleveland closer to competing in our division and competing for championships."


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