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Free Agency Preview: Cleveland Browns

After a disappointing 7-10 campaign in 2022, the Cleveland Browns are set on making 2023 a year where they take the next step. In order to take the next step, Cleveland will look to cover some holes throughout the roster in free agency. Cleveland currently has -11 million in cap space, which means they are 11 million over the cap. The Browns can do that by restructuring contracts, and cutting players. On the topic of cutting players, it has been announced that the Cleveland Browns will be releasing Safety John Johnson III on March 15th to avoid any cap penalty.

Draft Capital:

Following some trades the last off-season, the Browns do not have a pick until the second round of the NFL draft. They also carry a third round, two fourth rounders, two fifth rounders, a sixth, and a seventh round pick. There will be more about the draft in an upcoming article.

Notable Free Agents:

The Browns will have 22 players set to hit free agency so far. Some notable names include, DE Jadeveon Clowney, RB Kareem Hunt, MLB Anthony Walker Jr., and CB Greedy Williams. With a roster with some holes, and these players leaving, the Browns will need to be creative in free agency with their current cap situation.

Players to be Resigned:

The first player I believe Cleveland should, and could resign is Anthony Walker, Jr. I say this because he has been the leader of the defense since 2020, and has his market value at $4.4 million per year. Another player that the Browns should consider is either Jesse James, or Pharoah Brown, just for depth, but they could pick a TE up in the draft. After looking at the cap space, and the current situation the Browns are in, I believe they should make resigning Walker a priority.

Letting Players Walk:

The first player that looks like is going to walk is Kareem Hunt. The little production, and the price tag for Hunt has led to a break-up between Hunt and Cleveland. Jacoby Brissett is another player where the fans wants him back, but from an organization standpoint, Brissett has proved he could be a bridge quarterback for a team, which is something that he did in Cleveland this past year. Letting Greedy Williams walk will allow Greg Newsome the opportunity to prove he can be the corner across from Denzel Ward. With the rise of Emerson this year, it seems like a no brainer to let Williams walk. Plus Williams does not want to play on the inside.

Cut Candidates:

The news broke the other day about the Browns deciding to cut John Johnson III. Which was the number one candidate to cut in my opinion. Outside of Johnson, I believe the Browns will look to restructure contracts, such as Watson’s.

Free Agency Pickups:

The name most being thrown around is Jessie Bates III from Cincinnati to replace Johnson. Cleveland needs help at center as well, and some candidates include Dalton Risner, Connor McGovern, and Garrett Bradbury. All of theses guys are somewhat affordable and add to a solid offensive line. Cleveland’s biggest area for improvement is the DT position. With Jim Schwartz’s defense, the DT is a necessity. There are very few candidates in free agency so I would expect Cleveland to look towards the draft.

If you want to see more previews, click here

Offensive Report Card

Defensive Report Card

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