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Thursday, March 15, 2012
Report: Browns keep CB Dimitri Patterson

By Jamison Hensley

It won't be considered a scintillating move, but it was a smart one for the Cleveland Browns to re-sign cornerback Dimitri Patterson.

I expect a potential ripple effect from the Browns keeping Patterson. Judging by the size of his contract -- three years for $16 million with $6 million guaranteed, according to the Akron Beacon Journal -- the expectation is for Patterson to go from nickel back to starter.

Patterson, 28, would push Sheldon Brown, who got picked on by quarterbacks last season, to nickel back or to a different position entirely. The Browns could move Brown to safety depending on their faith in speedy Buster Skrine becoming the No. 3 cornerback. Shifting Brown to safety would eliminate the need for Cleveland to re-sign free agent Mike Adams, who is visiting the Denver Broncos.

Excelling last season as the nickel back, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Patterson broke up 12 passes and made 26 tackles. While keeping Patterson is a solid move for the Browns -- I had him as the ninth-best free agent available in the AFC North -- it doesn't preclude them from using the fourth overall pick on LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.

The Browns continue to be the most active AFC North team in signing free agents, adding defensive end Frostee Rucker and retaining Patterson, tight end Alex Smith and offensive lineman John Greco.