6:18pm: The Browns announced the signing, tweets Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal.
4:53pm: Well-traveled safety Jim Leonhard has signed with the Browns, the veteran free agent announced today, tweeting, “It’s official, I just signed my 8th NFL contract to become a part of the Cleveland Browns. #dawgpound.” The move reunites the 31-year-old with Browns head coach Mike Pettine, who was the Bills’ defensive coordinator when Leonhard played in Buffalo last season.
Leonhard, a Wisconsin product, has played for four teams since entering the league in 2005, spending time with the Jets, Ravens, and Broncos, as well as enjoying two separate stints with the Bills. After playing primarily in a reserve role in Denver in 2012, Leonhard earned seven starts last season in Buffalo. Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required) ranked him as just the 67th-best safety out of 86 qualified players, but he contributed 41 tackles and four interceptions to a much-improved Bills defense.
For the Browns, Leonhard will look to earn a spot and playing time in a secondary where Donte Whitner and Tashaun Gipson project as the starting safeties. Cleveland won’t have to cut a player to finalize the signing of Leonhard, since the team had a couple open spots on its 90-man roster.