However, the agreement to sign Hyde does not eliminate Saquon Barkley from the Browns' draft board, according to a league source familiar with the team's thinking.
Hyde's new Browns contract is expected to be worth more than $15 million and pay him $6 million in 2018.
Hyde's career with the 49ers ends after four up-and-down seasons, where he flashed potential but was ultimately unable to show enough consistency to warrant a long-term deal from San Francisco. He logged 1,288 yards from scrimmage and set career highs with 59 receptions for 350 yards, expanding his game in first-year coach Kyle Shanahan's system.
However, the Browns have filled so many needs in free agency and through trades they also may be positioning themselves to take the best player available in the draft.
An Ohio native is returning to the Buckeye state.
How this affects the Browns' draft will be interesting.
During this offseason, the Browns have already executed trades for three players.
After an 0-16 season, the hapless Browns suddenly became the aggressors, trading for Miami Dolphins Pro-Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry and Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Fortunately for Hyde, he proved in 2017 that he was able to pull off an entire season in the starting lineup - even despite some on-and-off hip and concussion issues. The team also is expected to sign offensive tackle Chris Hubbard once free agency opens. The closest he came was 988 in 2016 when he missed three games with various injuries. Hyde averaged at least 4 yards per carry in three of his four seasons and last season averaged 3.91. Hyde's arrival in Cleveland does not completely preclude the Browns from taking Barkley in the draft, but it certainly is reasonable to suggest Hyde's presence shifts their focus toward selecting a quarterback with the first-overall pick.