BEREA — It doesn’t appear there will be many roster spots available on the offensive line when the Browns opening training camp in late July.
The team announced Friday that guard Seth McKinney, who started the first eight games of last season, has signed a one-year contract. McKinney is the third lineman signed in recent weeks to bolster a line that developed into one of the NFL’s better units in 2007.
McKinney (6-foot-3, 315 pounds) signed a one-year deal with the Browns last March after missing the previous season with the Miami Dolphins because of a neck injury. McKinney won the starting job at right guard and played well before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against the Seattle Seahawks. Ryan Tucker started the final eight games at right guard.
‘‘With his (McKinney’s) versatility as a guard and center, this signing should solidify the interior part of our offensive line,’’ general manager Phil Savage said. ‘‘At this point, we feel we have seven starters competing for five positions.’’
Four of the starters are expected to be tackles Joe Thomas and Kevin Shaffer, left guard Eric Steinbach and center Hank Fraley. Tucker, McKinney and Rex Hadnot, a former Dolphin signed earlier this month, will contend for the starting job at right guard.
The Browns also re-signed guard Lennie Friedman this month. Friedman will serve as a backup at all three interior spots.
McKinney was the Dolphins’ third-round draft choice out of Texas A&M in 2002. He played in all 16 games for the Dolphins in each of his first three seasons. He started 13 games at center in 2005 but missed the final three games with a lower-leg injury.
McKinney was prepared to return to the starting lineup in 2006, only to be sidelined by a neck injury that required surgery to repair a disc. The Browns had expressed interest in acquiring him in a trade to fill the void left after LeCharles Bentley suffered a season-ending knee injury before he suffered the injury.