The Browns have signed quarterback Garrett Gilbert, the leading passer in the Alliance of American Football, the team announced Friday.
Gilbert threw for a league-high 2,152 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Orlando Apollos before the AAF suspended operations earlier this week with two weeks to play in its inaugural regular season.
He led coach Steve Spurrier’s team to an AAF-best 7-1 mark.
According to Cleveland.com, Gilbert will be third on the Browns’ depth chart behind starter Baker Mayfield, who threw for a rookie-record 27 touchdown passes in 2018, and his backup, Drew Stanton.
Fun Fact: Garrett Gilbert (’09) and @bakermayfield (’13) are both alums of Lake Travis HS in Austin, Texas! Go Cavaliers! 😏
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 5, 2019
The AAF said via social media Thursday that its players were “authorized” to sign with NFL teams, and a handful have in the first 24 hours after the suspended league made the announcement.
Gilbert, 27, was a sixth-round pick of the then-St. Louis Rams in 2014 out of SMU, where he transferred in 2012 after starting his college career at Texas as a much-ballyhooed recruit.
In addition to the Rams, he has spent time with the Patriots, Lions and Raiders. Most recently, he was with the Panthers in 2017 and ’18, but he has completed two of only three NFL regular-season passes for 40 yards.
The Browns were looking for quarterback depth after losing Tyrod Taylor to the Chargers this offseason.
The Browns also announced Friday that they’ve signed former Steelers safety Morgan Burnett to a two-year contract, and, according to multiple reports, he’ll compete with Eric Murray, recently acquired in a trade with the Chiefs, for the starting strong safety job.