The Cleveland Browns have placed tender on free a pair of restricted free agents; tight end Stephen Carlson and defensive end Porter Gustin. That effectively guarantees they will be with the Browns in 2020.
Both are depth players. Carlson was the fourth tight end on the roster last year, but due to injuries as well as COVID-19, appeared in every game last year, starting two. A former wide receiver from the Ivy League, Carlson has been trying to grow into more of a blocking role, but he's well suited to be a threat in space, either as a wing or flexed to the slot.
The Browns seem pretty committed to keeping Austin Hooper, David Njoku and Harrison Bryant this season, but if they were to get an offer they can't refuse on Njoku, Carlson ensures they have someone familiar with their offense. Otherwise, he continues to be the fourth option and hopefully continue growing as a player.
Gustin was the fourth defensive end on the team, providing energy as a rotational option. He plays with a decent amount of speed and shows tremendous effort, but to this point, that's most of what he's shown. He did record an interception off of a tipped pass in the playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Browns need more out of that fourth defensive end option, whether it comes from Gustin or someone else. If he doesn't improve, he might end up the fifth defensive end on the roster.
Both Gustin and Porter are 24 years old, so there beyond cost, there's an inherent belief they can continue to increase their contributions to this roster.