CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
After ranking 21st in the NFL in kick return average and 27th in punt returns, the Cleveland Browns are making a move to improve their special teams play. According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Browns have signed kick returner Jakeem Grant to a three-year contract worth $13.8 million.
Originally selected by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Grant was traded to the Chicago Bears midway through the 2021 season, in which he received Pro Bowl honors. Appearing in 15 games last season, the two-time second-team All-Pro kick returner (2020, 2021) averaged 23.4 yards on 23 returns and 309 yards on 26 punt returns -- including a 97-yard touchdown return in the Bears' Week 14 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Cleveland's acquisition of Grant comes after a season in which rookie running back/wide receiver Demetric Felton handled the bulk of the Browns' punt returns, with wide receiver Anthony Schwartz, Felton and running back D'Ernest Johnson serving as the primary kick returners. Throughout the 17-game season, Cleveland never totaled a punt return longer than 24 yards and kick return longer than 35 yards.
Signing the 29-year-old Grant marks the Browns' third acquisition since the NFL's legal tampering period began on Monday. Earlier this week, Cleveland agreed to a one-year deal with Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan and a trade to send linebacker Mack Wilson to the New England Patriots for defensive end Chase Winovich.