The Browns have added a 90th player to their roster, signing free agent defensive lineman Nick Hayden to an undisclosed contract, per a team announcement. Cleveland is now the fourth NFL organization for Hayden, who entered the league as a sixth-round pick of the Panthers in the 2008 draft.
The Browns’ signing of Hayden, 30, comes on the heels of the season-ending surgery fellow D-lineman Desmond Bryant underwent earlier this month to repair a torn pectoral muscle. While Hayden isn’t on Bryant’s level, he logged extensive playing time as a Cowboy from 2013-15 and emerged as a durable option in Dallas. The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder started in 47 of a possible 48 regular-season games during his three years with the club and picked up 130 tackles, including a career-high 48 in 2015 while playing in 55 percent of its defensive snaps. That output didn’t impress Pro Football Focus, however, which ranked Hayden just 115th out of 123 qualifying interior defenders last year.
The majority of Hayden’s action last season came against the run, and the Browns finished 30th in the league in rushing yardage allowed and tied for 26th in yards per attempt yielded. Hayden could help their cause in that regard, or at least provide depth along a line that features Xavier Cooper, Danny Shelton and John Hughes as projected starters, as Roster Resource indicates.
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