By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
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.
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