Browns chasing Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson

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The Browns are interested in acquiring Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson and have offered Jefferson more money than any other team has thus far in the open negotiating period, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

Jefferson, 25, is expected to be one of the most sought after free agents on the market. He was a full-time starter for the first time last season and recorded two sacks and two fumble recoveries. He’s started 31 of 63 career games.

The report said the Ravens are also interested in Jefferson. They’ve cleared some cap space this week by releasing some veterans, most notably outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil.

The Cardinals have already invested heavily in their secondary with rich contracts for safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Patrick Peterson and are about to sign pass-rusher Chandler Jones to an extension, so the expected departure of Jefferson comes as a result of a numbers game.

The Browns have plenty of money to spend, and acquiring Jefferson would be a positive early step for a team trying to shake the stink of a 1-15 season in 2016.