Chris Kirksey's new deal brings Browns' offseason tab to $272 million

Chris Kirksey signed a four-year extension in what has been a busy offseason for the Browns. Photo By Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

One year ago on the first day of free agency the Cleveland Browns watched as four starters departed via free agency.

A year later, the team has done an about face. The tear-down has officially ended, and the building, which Paul DePodesta said started with the acquisition of Jamie Collins via trade, is underway.

The Browns are adding players via the draft -- 14 a year ago, 10 this year, including three in the first round -- and free agency and by retaining their own, most recently linebacker Chris Kirksey to a four-year contract extension.

It's significant.

It wasn't too long ago that Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas was lamenting that the Browns gutting what he called their "middle class" by allowing players like Mitch Schwartz and Alex Mack to leave.

Last week Thomas quipped at the team's charity golf tournament that the the team must realize those kinds of players matter.

The list of players added, retained or extended this offseason is lengthy. The number of players who could have returned but didn't is short. Take a look:

  • Brock Osweiler and his $16 million guaranteed was acquired via trade. He now is among those competing to play quarterback.

  • Kenny Britt signed a four-year, $32.5 million deal in March and immediately became the No. 1 receiver. Britt in essence replaces Terrelle Pryor, who did not take the deal Britt did.

  • Offensve guard Joel Bitonio signed a $47.5 million contract extension in March. Bitonio has played well for the Browns, but the extension was a major statement given he was still recovering from Lisfranc surgery.

  • J.C. Tretter signed a three-year, $16.75 million deal and steps in as the starting center.

  • Kevin Zeitler became the highest paid guard in the league when the Browns gave him a five-year, $60 million deal. That's 40 percent of the offensive line acquired in two free-agent deals worth $76.75 million.

  • Collins bypassed free agency to stay in Cleveland on a four-year, $50 million deal.

  • Kirksey was the latest to stay. He chose not to look at free agency after the season and signed a four-year deal worth $38 million, according to the NFL Network.

  • Jason McCourty was added to bolster cornerback depth at two years and $6 million.

  • Punter Britton Colquitt was rewarded with a four-year, $11.2 million deal. Spotrac.com reports that the deal allows the Browns an out after two years, so some may say it's actually two years and $5.7 million.

The Browns also drafted 10 players, including three in the first round in Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku. They claimed offensive lineman Marcus Martin on waivers and signed offensive lineman Matt McCants to a low-cost, one-year deal for further offensive line depth. They even added former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson to the front office and a new defensive coordinator in Gregg Williams.

It's been a busy offseason.

Via free agency, trade or contract extension, the Browns have committed to nine new contracts with a total value of $272.45 million.