Browns sign linebacker Craig Robertson as exclusive-rights free agent


Don’t you go worrying about those supposed holes in the Cleveland Browns linebacking corps: The team has extended a contract tender to inside linebacker Craig Robertson as an exclusive-rights free agent.

Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal confirms, through a team spokesman, that Robertson has been tagged with the “exclusive rights” maneuver, one that provides a player who has fewer than three seasons of experience with absolutely nothing in the way of leverage. Robertson will return to the Browns for the 2014 season after serving as a full-time starter last year, playing alongside the recently departed D’Qwell Jackson. According to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, the inside linebacker’s salary for the upcoming season will be $570,000. He will become a restricted free agent in 2015.

Heading into last season, Robertson was working extremely hard to make an impact, even being called then defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s “ace in the hole.” So, how did Robertson fare last season? Buckle up.

ProFootballFocus ranked Robertson, who was fourth on the team in tackles (89), 52nd out of 55 inside linebackers last season. The website’s ratings placed him 48th against the run and a league-worst 52nd in coverage. Robertson was targeted often on third-down situations (58 times in total), allowing an incredible 86.2 percent of all pass attempts in his direction to be caught; the 376 yards after catch allowed by Robertson was second-worst in the NFL. Needless to say, after a relatively productive 2012, there’s a little room for growth in 2014.

Image: Candice Vlcek/WFNY

  • dwhit110

    Surprised to see any priority placed on retaining Robertson, but I guess you’d have to wonder who else this tag could have gone to if not him.

    Also what would have happened if we didn’t tag Robertson? I didn’t think he was a free agent yet, or are you telling me he was restricted and could have tested the market?

  • MrCleaveland

    Awriiiiighht, we locked up the fourth-worst linebacker in the NFL! Who needs Pro Bowlers?

  • DPatton

    This is what I found:EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENT (ERFA): A player whose contract has expired and has three or fewer tenured years in the league. His original team must make a contract offer by the league imposed deadline or the player becomes an unrestricted free agent. No compensation is awarded for losing EFAs.

    After seeing him consistently burned, it’s a wonder the Browns even bothered…

  • BenRM

    He wasn’t very good. But he is young and has a year’s worth of starting experience. More importantly, he is CRAZY cheap.

    I’m okay with this. I still hope they upgrade. Like a lot.

  • RGB

    Calm down!!
    On March 11 they’re going to blow us away with their game changing free-agent signings!! Christmas in March!! Woohoo!!

    Who’s with me? Let’s gooooooooooooooooo…


  • Harv 21

    He seemed to be better his rookie year in the 4-3 where he could run through less traffic, but he has some speed and I don’t quite get why his coverage skills are so bad that offenses now target him. Maybe he’s too small for the big tight ends, or maybe he needs to learn how to study film.

  • CBI

    I’m having trouble finding ProFootballFocus rankings. Anyone know where
    D’Qwell ranked?

  • CBI

    Also, in that picture, Robertson looks like he’s getting shed by that tackling dummy.

  • saggy

    I always felt that he started too close to the line of scrimmage and that he had terrible hips – him turning around was like an oceanliner turning in rough water.