CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns continued adding depth in the trenches on Tuesday.

Defensive tackle Shelby Harris is returning to the Browns, where he spent last season as a key rotational piece in Jim Schwartz’s system, a source confirmed to cleveland.com. Harris posted on X about his return as well, writing, “We back baby signing back to Cleveland!!! #backtotheland.”

 

 

A source also confirmed that the Browns will add offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji. He spent last season as a backup with the Vikings, and the first three years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals.

 

Harris, a 10-year veteran, joined the Browns in training camp last August on a one-year deal worth up to $5.25 million. He became a key rotational piece on the interior defensive line, along with Maurice Hurst II, who also agreed to re-sign with the Browns this week. The Browns’ marquee move on the defensive line came just before Hurst’s re-signing on Monday, when they brought back edge rusher Za’Darius Smith.

 

With Harris and Hurst returning and Dalvin Tomlinson under contract, there’s one defensive tackle who’s future is still in flux this free agency: Jordan Elliott, a former third-round pick who has started 31 games the last two seasons, remains on the market.

 

These current re-signings seem to indicate that the Browns are content to run it back for the most part with their defense that finished last season ranked No. 1 in fewest yards allowed.

 

Harris, 32, was originally drafted by the Raiders in the seventh round in 2014 out of Illinois State. He has appeared in 117 career games with 73 starts between the Raiders (2014-15), Broncos (2017-21), Seahawks (2022) and Browns (2023). He’s recorded 289 regular-season career tackles, 26.0 sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception.

 

With the Browns this past season, Harris started eight games, including Cleveland’s final five. In the regular season he registered 28 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three QB hits, five passes defensed and a forced fumble. According to Pro Football Focus data, among qualifying D-tackles he ranked 32nd in the league with a 70.5 defensive grade. His 75.6 pass rush grade ranked 24th. He played 438 defensive snaps.

 

It’s unsurprising Harris opted to return when given the opportunity. He was a huge fan of the scheme itself, and was vocal about how special he believed this D-line was throughout last season.

 

“It’s all love on this D-line,” he said following Cleveland’s shutout win over the Cardinals in November. “It’s all love on this team. I’d say it is one of the best teams I’ve been on in my whole career. Everybody cares about each other. Everybody’s happy for each other’s success, and that’s what’s going to take us to the top.”

 

Adeniji will add depth as a swing tackle but joins a crowded offensive tackle position, where Jedrick Wills Jr., Jack Conklin and Dawand Jones are all working their way back and progressing after suffering season-ending knee injuries. Injuries led to the Browns being down to their fourth and fifth starters in Geron Christian and James Hudson III down the stretch, so it’s understandable for Cleveland to look at depth here.

 

The 26-year-old has played in 43 regular-season games with 15 starts throughout his career. He played in only four games last season as a backup for the Vikings.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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