By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — As they wait for Joe Thomas’ decision, the Cleveland Browns added some offensive line depth.
The team reached agreement on Tuesday with former Pittsburgh tackle Chris Hubbard on a five-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. Hubbard, who spent the past four seasons with the Steelers, will sign with the Browns once the free agency signing period begins Wednesday, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because teams are not permitted to finalize deals during the NFL’s “legal tampering” period.
Terms of the deal were not immediately known.
In Cleveland, the 26-year-old Hubbard will be reunited with former Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who was hired by the Browns during the offseason.
Hubbard made 14 starts the past two seasons. The 6-foot-4, 295-pounder is primarily a right tackle, but he gives Cleveland flexibility up front and more options in case Thomas retires. A 10-time Pro Bowler, Thomas, who suffered a season-ending torn triceps in 2017, has not yet announced if he’ll be back next season or end his Hall of Fame career.
Hubbard was signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent from Alabama-Birmingham in 2013. He started four games in 2016 and 10 in 2017.
Shon Coleman, a third-round draft pick in 2016, started all 16 for Cleveland last season. If Thomas retires, it’s possible the Browns could switch Coleman to the left side or perhaps sign another free agent.
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