CLEVELAND – With the Cleveland Browns holding the No. 1 overall pick there’s been plenty of debate about who they should draft come April 27. One option is freakish running back Saquon Barkley, who is considered by some to be the best prospect entering the NFL this year. And while the Browns may still have interest in the Penn State product, taking him first overall seems unlikely as of Wednesday.
Less than eight hours before free agency officially opens at 4 pm, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Browns are expected to sign former 49ers RB Carlos Hyde to a three-year contract. The deal is said to be worth more than $15 million in total, with Hyde earning $6 million in the first year. Cleveland cannot confirm the signing until the new league year begins later today.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2018
Browns fans should be plenty familiar with Hyde form his college days, having spent four at Ohio State between 2010-2013. In his senior season with the Buckeyes, Hyde recorded more than 1,500 yards rushing and scored eight touchdowns. He finished his college career with 3,198 yards rushing, good enough for ninth on the Scarlet and Grey’s all-time rushing leaders list.
Hyde went on to be drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by San Francisco and spent the first four years of his career there. During that span the 49ers never posted a winning season, which perhaps left Hyde out of the limelight. However, outside of the 2015 campaign where he missed nine games due to a stress fracture in his foot, Hyde has been as steady as they come at the running back position.
In each of the last two seasons he posted 900 yard rushing seasons, including 938 yards in 2017 where he played in all 16 games for the first time in his career. 2016 was by far the most productive year of Hyde’s career as he rushed for 988 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games, catching three more scores as well.
With Duke Johnson already in the fold in Cleveland as a solid third-down, pass-catching back, the addition of Hyde will create a nice change of pace out of the Browns backfield.