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News » Browns hosting Butler?

Browns hosting Butler?

Browns hosting Butler?
New York Giants free-agent safety James Butler was scheduled to visit with the Browns on Saturday after leaving St. Louis earlier in the day without an agreement.

Carl Poston, Butler's agent, told the Newark Star-Ledger on Saturday that the strong safety would head to Cleveland on Saturday afternoon if he wasn't signed by the Rams by then.

A source told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Butler left St. Louis still hoping a deal could be worked out. With the Rams, Butler would be reunited with new head coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was his coordinator the past two years with the Giants.

"Well, we're talking," Poston told the Star-Ledger on Saturday morning. "We're still a bit apart. You know how it is with these things: Sometimes it's tough to tell if you're 5 yards apart, 10 yards apart or whatever."

In Cleveland, Butler would replace free-agent safety Sean Jones, who has had a quiet first two days of Free Agency. Neither Jones nor his agent, Brian Mackler, returned messages Saturday. A Browns spokesman couldn't confirm a Butler visit.

Butler, 6-3, 215 pounds, was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Georgia Tech in 2005.

He led the Giants with 10 tackles in their 17-14 Super Bowl victory over the Patriots after the 2007 season, and he finished the 2008 season with 68 tackles and three interceptions for 62 yards. Poston said he has several other teams interested, "but nothing set up beyond Cleveland." He said it's also possible Butler could return to the Giants.

If Butler did go through with his scheduled visit to Cleveland, it marked the first of the free-agency period for the Browns, who haven't been active in the frenzied first wave.

Davis to Denver: Seven-year Browns linebacker Andra Davis signed a two-year deal with the Broncos on Saturday, a source said.

Davis, the Browns' fifth-round pick in 2002, knew that 2008 was his last year in Cleveland. He finished the season with 90 tackles, including 62 solo. Davis, who led the Browns in tackles in three of his last six seasons, played in 105 games and totaled 789 tackles. He had a career-high 199 in 2005.

McGinest undecided: A source close to Browns free-agent linebacker Willie McGinest said he'd return in 2009 for the right opportunity. McGinest said before the 2008 season that he'd retire after the year. But he was noncommittal even after the season finale in Pittsburgh. McGinest and Browns coach Eric Mangini were in New England together, but it's not known if Mangini is interested in re-signing him.

Big names on the move: The Browns have sat back and watched as some of the top names in Free Agency have moved on. Former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott signed a six-year, $48 million deal with the Jets, and Giants free-agent running back Derrick Ward is headed for a visit in Denver today, according to profootballtalk.com. Ward visited the Bengals on Saturday but left without a deal. Ravens safety Jim Leonhard also visited the Jets on Saturday, but there was no word of a deal.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: mcabot@plaind.com, 216-999-4670

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 3, 2009

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