OFFICIAL NEWS: Browns pull a move to sign Giovanni Ricci former panthers TE/FE on blockbuster one year contract…

Browns to Sign TE/FB Giovanni Ricci.

As reported by Mike Kaye of the Charlotte Observer and confirmed by the OBR’s Brad Stainbrook, the Cleveland Browns are signing Giovanni Ricci. He’s a fullback and tight end that most recently played for the Carolina Panthers, where he spent the past three seasons.

Ricci appears in 36 games with four starts during his time with the Panthers. He has caught nine passes in his career for 102 yards, converting three of them for first downs. Ricci only played five games for the Panthers in 2023. He’s from Loveland, Ohio and played collegiately at Western Michigan.

The last player to hold the position of fullback on the Browns roster was Nick Harris. Harris was a center by trade, selected in the fifth round of the 2020 draft. He operated as the team’s backup center but was utilized in the backfield as a lead blocker in heavy sets this past year. The team eventually changed his designation to C/FB on their roster. Harris agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks reportedly worth $2.51 million.

This could potentially open up a spot at fullback, though it’s worth pointing out that the Browns re-signed Michael Gunn, a reserve offensive lineman who has also lined up at fullback.

Ricci can do more than operate as a fullback. He’s listed 6’3″ 240 pounds and could be utilized as an H-back. That was a role Harrison Bryant played last year for the Browns. He agreed to a one-year free agent deal that is reportedly for $3.25 million and could reach $4 million.

Ricci will be tasked with proving he’s worth keeping on the roster in that combination role. Because the Browns have had no problem utilizing reserve linemen as lead blockers and jumbo tight ends, Loveland has to be good enough to make the Browns go a different route. The way the Browns are evolving their offense with a number of new offensive coaches could be a driving force behind getting a truer fullback.

One of those coaches is Duce Staley, who was the running backs coach with the Panthers last season. He was part of a coaching purge in the middle of the year, but he would know Ricci and the type of player he is. That likely had a major impact on the Browns bringing Ricci in with a contract. Still, that gives Ricci to make his case not just to be kept around, but to earn his way onto the 53-man roster. This could also be an opportunity for the Browns coaching staff to determine if they want to have a fullback option on the roster. After all, they have shown a willingness to utilize reserve offensive lineman for both blocking backs and jumbo tight ends in heavier, short yardage packages.


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