By Eric Schmidt

The Cleveland Browns will not place the franchise tag on RB Peyton Hillis according to several reports this morning. Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer suggests this morning that the franchise will attempt to re-sign the running back prior to the start of free agency. Once a fan favorite, Hillis fell out of favor with the club as well as fans this season with some erratic behavior as well as dealing with some injury issues.

The Browns announced this week that they have reached a long-term agreement with LB D’Qwell Jackson and the franchise now has the franchise tag available to use elsewhere. According to Cabot, the Browns are reportedly interested in placing the tag on K Phil Dawson.

Of course, if the Browns fail to reach an agreement with Hillis and he departs via free agency, the Browns have other avenues to pursue in order to fill the void.

Cleveland still has RB Montario Hardesty on the roster, but the franchise has to be skeptical heading into 2012 with Hardesty as the number one starter given his injury history. According to Contra Costa Times beat writer, Steve Corkran, the Oakland Raiders are not likely to place the franchise tag on RB Michael Bush, so he could be on the open market.

If reports suggesting that the Browns are not seriously interested in making a move for Robert Griffin III, there is always the opportunity for the Browns to select Alabama RB Trent Richardson when they select in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

 

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