In his Sunday column, Cleveland Browns beat writer Tony Grossi discussed the potential of select restricted free agents returning to the team for the 2012 season. While Grossi does feel that the team will have linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and cornerback Dimitri Patterson back in uniform, two of the more disheartening predictions come in the form of running back Peyton Hillis and place kicker and team captain Phil Dawson, whom are both thought to be playing for another franchise come next season.
Dawson is the longest tenured member of the Cleveland Browns being the only man to have been with the team when it returned to the city in 1999. A franchise tag would cost the Browns approximately $4 million which is a considerable price for a place kicker regardless of the percentage of scoring he contributed this past season. Also, Grossi states that Dawson recently turned 37 years of age and has relocated his family to Austin, Texas — a “strong indication ” that he would like to leave in free agency.
Hillis has has had one of the worst up-and-down campaigns in recent memory after being named to the cover of Madden 12 to only deal with a variety of injuries and miss considerable time. Despite his finish to the 2011 season, Grossi feels that the two sides still remain at an impasse over how much the player should be guaranteed in his next contract.