Browns sign guard Bitonio to multiyear contract extension

Browns guard Joel Bitonio with left tackle Joe Thomas. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Browns guard Joel Bitonio has signed a multiyear contract extension.

Bitonio has developed into one of the NFL’s best young interior lineman since Cleveland drafted him in 2014 and the Browns wanted to secure a player with Pro Bowl potential.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder has been limited to just 15 games over the past two seasons because of injuries. He sustained a serious right foot injury last season, underwent surgery and is expected to be ready for the start of the 2017 season.

Bitonio was injured on Oct. 9 against New England and was eventually placed on injured reserve. His loss had a dramatic effect on Cleveland’s offense.

Bitonio’s signing comes as the Browns are poised to add some key pieces in free agency. The team is $102 million under the salary cap and expected to sign several players when the free agency signing period officially opens at 4 p.m. on Thursday.