Browns sign ex-Jets Bowens, Elam

Updated: March 10, 2009, 9:24 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

New Browns coach Eric Mangini continues to bring parts of his former team, the New York Jets, to his new post on Lake Erie. Tuesday, Cleveland signed former Jets linebacker David Bowens and came to an agreement with restricted free agent safety Abram Elam.

Bowens became the third former Jet to join the Browns. In the past several days, the Browns signed defensive tackle C.J. Mosley and cornerback Hank Poteat. Bowens, according to a source, agreed to a four-year, $7.2 million deal, but they might be able to block Elam's move.

Elam, according to a source, agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Because he's a restricted free agent, the Jets have seven days to match the offer and keep him on their roster.

Because Elam was undrafted, the Browns wouldn't have to give the Jets a draft choice if they don't match the offer sheet. The Jets gave Elam the low tender so they only have the ability to match the offer without draft choice compensation.

The versatile Bowens was an important role player during Mangini's time with the Jets. He started seven games over the past two years, and helped fill in as a starting inside linebacker when David Harris was hurt last season. Bowens can play inside or outside linebacker.

The Browns are Bowens' sixth NFL team. He's played with the Broncos, Packers, Redskins, Dolphins and Jets.

There is a decent chance the Jets could let Elam go to the Browns. They signed Jim Leonhard off the Ravens to be a starting safety. The 6-0, 207-pound Elam started 17 games for Mangini over the past two years. He entered the league in 2006 as an undrafted member of the Dallas Cowboys.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer