The Browns made some moves on Friday as they gave the exclusive rights tender to tight end Stephen Carlson as well as defensive end Porter Gustin.
The exclusive rights tender is for free agents who have three or less accrued seasons. It’s a one-year deal worth the league minimum and in this case Carlson and Gustin can only negotiate with the Browns and can’t receive offers from other NFL teams.
Carlson was the fourth tight end on the Browns depth chart last season and was primarily on special teams although he did record one reception for 11 yards and appeared in all 16 regular-season games (two starts). The 24-year-old will be entering his 3rd NFL season after going undrafted out of Princeton.
Gustin has been a rotational piece among the edge rushers since joining the Browns late in the 2019 season. Last year, he saw even more of a role behind Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon and alongside veteran Adrian Clayborn. Gustin appeared in 14 games (three starts) and had 30 tackles and is also entering his third NFL season after going undrafted out of USC.
The surprise move was first reported by NFL Network that the Browns were not tendering an offer to special teams ace Tavierre Thomas. The move would’ve made Thomas a restricted free agent but because of the lower salary cap, the Browns decided to let Thomas hit the open market and field potential offers from other teams.
Thomas had the second-most tackles on special teams with 11 and also had time as a reserve cornerback making three starts due to injuries and had 19 total tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble.