December 21, 2014

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Browns: ‘O’ line is bolstered, team signs McQuistan

The Browns brought in a Super Bowl champion Monday to strengthen the offensive line.

Eight-year veteran Paul McQuistan agreed to terms on a contract, adding versatility and experience. The deal is for two years and $3 million with $750,000 guaranteed, ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported, citing a source.

McQuistan, who will turn 31 next month, was a free agent after spending the last three years with Seattle. He started 14 games in 2013 for the Super Bowl champs, eight at left tackle and six at left guard. He didn’t start in the Seahawks’ postseason run but rotated at left guard.

McQuistan (6-foot-6, 315 pounds) has appeared in 83 games with 52 starts. He was a third-round pick of Oakland in 2006 out of Weber State.

He was with the Browns in 2010 but didn’t appear in a game.

“He has versatility,” general manager Ray Farmer told reporters Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla., before the move was announced “The guy played a lot of tackle last year. He’s played guard. The versatility is definitely intriguing and positive for us and it can make our minds rest easy in a lot of respects where he can possibly contribute. So that versatility is what we’re more focused on than any one specific spot, saying he’s going to be this.”

McQuistan is a candidate to start at right guard, along with Jason Pinkston and Garrett Gilkey. Shawn Lauvao, a starter the last three seasons, was allowed to leave in free agency and quickly signed a four-year, $17 million contract with Washington.

The Browns are set at left tackle with seven-time Pro Bowler Joe Thomas, but McQuistan could also play right tackle if the Browns aren’t happy with Mitchell Schwartz or try him at guard.

McQuistan visited the Browns last week. He played in all 48 games in three years with Seattle, including 40 starts. He started two of five postseason games.

His twin brother, Pat, was a seventh-round pick by Dallas in 2006 and spent time last season with Tennessee.

Sanchez interest?

The Jets officially waived quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Browns are looking to bring in a veteran to join Brian Hoyer before the draft, and Sanchez is the top option on the market.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Sanchez was expected to sign with the Eagles, pending a physical. The New York Daily News reported the Eagles had the “edge” but weren’t “a lock” and the Browns, Rams and Titans had also expressed “real interest.”

ESPN analyst and former NFL GM Bill Polian said Cleveland would be the best fit for Sanchez.

Extra points

Second-year free safety Tashaun Gipson earned $266,299 in performance-based pay for 2013, the NFL announced, fifth in the league. Each team received $3.46 million, which was distributed among the roster. The bonus is based on performance and playing time compared to salary. Inside linebacker Craig Robertson will receive $219,252, cornerback Buster Skrine $209,858 and tight end Jordan Cameron $160,594.

• Linebacker Arthur Moats signed a one-year contract with the Steelers. The Browns had shown interest earlier in free agency. Moats, 26, started 12 games for the Bills last season, making 54 tackles. Browns coach Mike Pettine was defensive coordinator for the Bills.

• As expected, the Browns weren’t awarded a compensatory draft pick for 2013 free agency. Picks are awarded to teams that lose more and better free agents than they sign in an offseason.

Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @scottpetrak.