NFL Free Agency: Browns add tight end Gary Barnidge

(Update: Browns CEO Joe Banner confirms that the team has agreed to terms with Barnidge)

The Cleveland Browns are expected to sign free agent tight end Gary Barnidge, Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer reports.

Barnidge, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, has a connection to Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski. He played in all 16 games in 2012, hauling in six passes — on six targets — for 78 yards and a touchdown. The 27-year old is a big target at 6-feet-5-inches and will likely provide inexpensive depth at the depleated tight end position in Cleveland. He was the fifth-round selection by the Panthers in 2008 and made just $615,000 last season.

A seam-stretcher, Barnidge provides speed and atleticism and was said to have fit into Rob Chudzinski’s offense when the two shared time in Carolina. The Panthers were really high on Barnidge’s potential as a downfield threat before he broke his ankle in the second preseason game in 2011. Given offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s penchant for including tight ends in the passing game, this signing makes complete sense.

[Related: NFL Free Agency: A 2013 Version of “Plan B?”]

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Interesting… I expect the Browns will still sign or draft a starting tight end (supposedly they are among the leaders to land Fred Davis), but Barnidge could end up pushing Jordan Cameron down the chain to 3rd TE.

  • BenRM

    Dear Jordan Cameron,

    It’s time to start being a football player.



  • mgbode

    Chud loves him in the receiving game, so he got a whole 6 targets in a TE-heavy system? Also, love that Louis Murphy is listed as a WR/TE for Carolina last year.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I thought that was interesting as well and probably points to Barnidge being a better blocking tight end than receiving… which is great, the Browns need that since they let Alex Smith walk.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Also interesting note… Fred Davis grew up in Toledo, so he might not mind “coming home” to the Browns if all things are equal between the Skins and Browns.

  • FearTheRoo

    Just curious. What was wrong with Ben Watson?

  • mgbode

    he was nothing special, not bad/not good. and Barnidge is doubtful to be the TE1.

    you don’t have to be negative on EVERY move.

  • JK

    Oh yes we do, this is Cleveland

  • mgbode

    Hartsock was their great blocking TE. Olsen was their no-block all-catch guy. Barnidge was supposedly the middle guy who could do a little of both, but neither as well as the other guys. At least, those are the reports (I don’t remember much of Barnidge in the Panther games I saw).

  • Plus I think Watson is kind of old, no? Banner doesn’t like older players.

  • Parker

    Solid third Tight End Still need another option to go with cameron. Bernard Pollard was cut today by the Ravens, maybe the Browns will take a look for safety help.

  • JHop

    Also getting up there in years. Better to draft someone or sign a proven free agent TE closer to 26/27

  • Aside from his age, injury history and price tag?

  • woofersus

    Yeah, Watson is 32 and has missed time with concussions in multiple years.

  • Harv 21

    1) old, 2) multiple concussions, 3) diminishing skills, 4) more blocking/possession type than speedy seam-stretcher skills they are now looking for.

  • mgbode

    there are times when I miss the negativity vortex of the Northcoast

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    No this was Cleveland baby first the Indians now the Browns as soon as the Cavaliers do more the Apocolypse, all be it late, will be upon us!

  • FearTheRoo

    Just would rather have the veteran with 28 career TDs, instead of a guy with 1. Our offense is young and lacks leadership. We had a VERY difficult time getting TDs last season and need to improve drastically.

  • maxfnmloans

    am I the only one who read “diminishing skills” in a full out Belichik-ian mumble?

  • maxfnmloans

    other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

  • mgbode

    Watson only averaged 50rec/500yds/3TDs per season with us. I think we can find that production elsewhere. and, again, I don’t think Barnidge is going to be our TE1.

  • mgbode

    is there any other way?

  • Harv 21

    Dear Tom Heckert:

    I love you man, but is it now safe to share Cameron’s secret skills drill video that revealed the astonishing athleticism all of Berea talked about for 2 years? Because to me he looks like a guy: decent hands, ok speed, bad blocking. Show me this and they can bury the Secrets of Owen Marecic with you.

  • Harv 21

    any word on Saint Lawrence Vickers? Seems so strange not to genuflect this time of year.

    “A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words.”

  • The Ghost Of Álvaro Espinoza

    He’s shown flashes or being an above average TE. He might be another player that will benefit from the scheme change.

  • Harv 21

    Think of whomever you consider to be an “average” NFL tight end. I assume he can catch and run routes decently and break a few tackles periodically and block decently. Now please tell me when Cameron has shown flashes of anything more than that.

    Not trying to be snarky, just can’t think of a play when he’s looked any better than a regular starter (e.g., spectacular catch, or broken tackles or broken wide open deep and taken pass to the house), and he certainly doesn’t consistently look average.

  • porkchop

    So everybody is just taking the word of “Joe Person”? Is this just new media speak for “a source”?

  • By “Secrets of Owen Marecic,” I assume you mean the secret photos Owen has of Tom on that fateful trip to Tijuana?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Remind me again where Tom Heckert is currently working…but at least he saved the new regime cap space!

  • mgbode

    perhaps “working on his tan” in the Bahamas? it’s nice there this time of year and he’s getting paid millions no matter what he does with his time. also, do not underestimate the luxury we have because the young players he picked are filling some of the roles as well.

    let’s use Heckert’s words:

    “On interviewing for another job: “Obviously, I’ll let this sink
    in a little bit and see what happens. Fortunately, I have some years
    left on my contract so I don’t have to do anything right away. I want to go into the right situation. I don’t want to just jump into somewhere where I don’t think has a chance.”


  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I was speaking to Harv mister! But in all seriousness Heckert did alright but far from the knighthood that many around here wanted to bestow upon him. And the Browns have a laundry list of ex-personnel people they are still paying off that’s nothing new.

    As for that comment I read between the lines and read “maybe New England, Green Bay, San Francisco or Seattle will need someone in a few years and maybe I can slip in to a nice cozy position.”

  • mgbode

    if you are in the dark ages and someone just makes things tolerable, then knighthood isn’t out of the question 🙂

  • Harv 21

    that’s it. “He Didn’t Suck” is high praise indeed round these parts, maybe the inscription for a Public Square statue.

    Clevelanders consistently overvalue our own guys, because we just know there’s an excellent chance next guy will be worse. The precise opposite of more confident cities’ fans always wondering why their team doesn’t have some other team’s star.

  • Harv 21

    I was imagining the greatest Combine interview ever, where Marecic brought his Stanford textbooks and diagrammed how he knew both teams’ game plans before the season started, how he conditioned his body to play every position in every sport simultaneously while going all summa cum laude in Advanced Astrophysicscisms. Like the dude on the 5-hour energy drink commercial.

    Or maybe you’re right, maybe it was your basic TJ.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I do some of my best work in the dark! I mean dancing of course you pervs, no names, Steve!

  • mgbode

    I’m not sure we could even field an entire team with “he didn’t suck” players since ’99. Who would we put at QB?

    QB: ?Holcomb?
    WR: Kevin Johnson, Josh Gordon (I hope)
    TE: Winslow Jr. (when healthy)
    RB: Richardson (I hope)
    LT: JT
    LG: Steinbach
    C: Mack
    RG: Tucker
    RT: Schwartz (I hope)
    FB: Vickers

    K: Dawson
    P: Gardocki
    Returner: Cribbs
    LS: Pontbriand

    ok, enough. someone else can fill in the defense.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    We don’t want more, we don’t want more, statues! Heckert had as many misses as he did hits whether it was trading down to select a DT or drafting a basketball playing TE or drafting a two-way FB or engaging in last years offseason RG3 debacle or drafting Brandon Weeden so high. On the last two I cut some slack because I think a rather large human being was towering over Phil breathing heavily suggesting things. But hey, I could be wrong.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    They should have thrown him a textbook to see if he could catch it ya know the same issue supposedly the great Lawrence Vickers suffered from in not being able to catch passes!

  • mgbode

    trading down to select a DT who happened to absolutely terrorize opposing OLs last season and who happens to seem like a perfect fit for DE in Horton’s scheme. Are you complaining about Phil Taylor?

    QB is definitely the spot to start complaints on Heckert. The question is how much of those decisions were on him? I don’t know.

  • Harv 21

    Agree bout yout last two. Holmgren said he’d be personally involved in QB matters and I have no reason to doubt that was true, especially after he was so defensive and weird after Wash traded for Griffin.

  • Harv 21

    OLB: Jamir Miller
    MLB: DQ Jackson last year

    CB: Haden
    DL: Shaun Rogers, when mood struck
    DL: Courtney Brown: for a brief glimpse before injuries
    FS: [someone Butch drafted who kept getting concussions, name escapes]

    ok, I’m flaming …

  • mgbode

    ok, I’ll help out

    CB1: Haden
    CB2: McCutcheon
    SS: Ward
    FS: Little (better than Crocker or Pool I think)

    (Filling out 8 for front7 to account for 3-4 and 4-3)

    OLB: Jamir Miller
    ILB: DQ
    ILB: Andra Davis

    DE: Courtney Brown
    DT: Rubin
    DT: Taylor
    DE: John Thierry (ok, not really but noone seems to remember he was one of the bright spots of ’99) —- actual DE: Kenard Lang

    That LB corps is terrible. I’d take what we have going this year over it and we aren’t done yet.

  • Harv 21

    thx. However some of these … just can’t pronounce words “didn’t suck.” Lips rebel. Little, Davis, even McCutcheon? And that’s without inserting my personal bias about TJ’s lack of brain and willingness or inability to improve. To me that waste is approaching Big Daddy territory, but understand I’m in tiny minority about him.

  • mgbode

    I couldn’t make a list about players who Browns fans may have over-rated because they didn’t suck without including Andra Davis even if he was borderline on if he did or not 🙂

    FS was a weak spot too. Little, Pool, Crocker? I thought about cheating and putting Griffith there. 2nd OLB was the other hard one to fill.

    McCutch was clutch. Or so was the saying in the day. I think he belongs.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    “absolutely terrorizing” seems a tab bit generous to me especially when you look at the defense overall. Not necessarily complaining about Taylor but rather the decision to trade down and then select a DT. Especially when you consider how many other needs there were with the #7 pick including WR which was huge.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I doubt we ever know what really happened with that whole RG3 debacle and who was to blame if it was any one person.

  • mgbode

    if there were many needs, then getting more top50 picks is a good thing. Greg Little looked like a legit starter the 2nd half of last season too.

    and I’m a staunch Phil Taylor supporter. he was very good last year.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Cameron and Marecic even out Taylor and Little that’s the problem. And that’s if you want to extend every benefit of the doubt to both Taylor and Little. I would have just preferred a #7 pick the likes of a Julio Jones is all. As far as Taylor goes I’m guessing he’ll be splitting alot of time now with all of the defensive lineman on the roster.

  • mgbode

    we didn’t get any game-breakers and we didn’t find a QB. those are legit concerns.

    going hit or miss with 4th/5th/6th round picks is not a concern. that is every GM in the NFL.

    and, we also cannot discount the Julio on the Browns with Colt throwing and no other weapons either. it would not likely be the Julio we see in Atlanta.

  • Mexoplex

    Yeah, you Browns got a deal with Barnidge. he just couldnt get around our other tight ends to start much.