Browns sign 9 to reserve/futures contracts, while 1 is weighing options

The Cleveland Browns season is over, but that doesn’t mean the team will take time off to prepare for 2024.

Cleveland signed nine players to reserve/future contracts, meaning their contracts will go into effect when the new league year begins. They can also join the Browns’ practices when those begin in the spring. A 10th player is reportedly weighing his options before signing the contract.

Most of the players the Browns added have previous history with the team. Here is a quick breakdown of all 10 players.

WR Jaelon Darden

(Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
(Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Darden joined the Browns off waivers on Dec. 7, 2022. He was waived ahead of the 2023 season but joined the team’s practice squad for the 2023 season. Darden was originally a fourth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022.

CB Vincent Gray

Browns Vincent Gray
(Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports)

Gray spent most of the 2023 season on the Browns practice squad before making his NFL debut in Week 18. He recorded five tackles and two defended pass in the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Gray went undrafted in 2022 but spent time with the New Orleans Saints’ and Los Angeles Rams’ practice squads.

RB John Kelly Jr.

Browns John Kelly Pro Football Hall of Fame Game Jets
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

Kelly Jr. has spent the past three seasons on the Browns practice squad after he spent two seasons with the Rams.

TE Zaire Mitchell-Paden

(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

The Browns signed Mitchell-Paden as an undrafted free agent in 2022 and he spent the past two seasons on and off the team’s practice squad.

OT Justin Murray

(Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean-USA TODAY NETWORK)
(Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean-USA TODAY NETWORK)

Murray is an eight-year veteran who’s spent time on 10 different teams’ practice squads, including the Browns. Cleveland signed him in November to their practice squad after the Tennessee Titans released him.

DE Lonnie Phelps

(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

Phelps went undrafted out of Kansas this spring and was signed to the Browns practice squad before start of the 2023 season.

LB Charlie Thomas III

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Thomas III went undrafted out of Georgia Tech this spring and was signed to the Browns practice squad before start of the 2023 season.

DE Isaiah Thomas

(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

The Browns drafted Thomas in the seventh round in 2022. He played 10 games as a rookie where he recorded 10 combined tackles, one sack, two quarterback hits and two defended passes.

DT Chris Williams

Browns Benny Snell Kenyan Drake
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Williams was on the Browns’ practice squad this past season after he spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs’ and Indianapolis Colts’ practice squads over the past two seasons.

WR Austin Watkins Jr.

Browns Austin Watkins Jr.
(Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Watkins Jr. was offered a reserve/futures contract but hasn’t agreed to a deal yet, according to 247Sports’ Brad Stainbrook. Watkins Jr. signed with the Browns practice squad this year but didn’t see any regular season action. He previously spent time with the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints as well as the Canadian Football League and the USFL.

Story originally appeared on Browns Wire