Welcome back to the eleventh installment of the series. I am taking a deep dive into the Browns roster and how they can best fill the holes in their roster. Each day I will be releasing a different position room.
For every position room, I have outlined how the NFL structures that position on the roster. The players we have in four categories: starter, rotation (play some snaps), depth (injury backup/special teams) and other (likely cut). Then I will lay out the options currently on the roster, available in FA as well as via the draft for all 53 spots.
The average NFL team has 10.0 DBs on their roster. With teams carrying six CBs the average NFL team would only take 4 safety but consider the predicted drop in LBs, that spot would be filled with a fifth safety. Two starters, plus a third player who can mix in during nickel/dime packages depending on the scheme/situation.
Starting FS: ?
FA – The Browns need to find a name in FA to take the starting job at FS. Randall was in line for a big extension before last season but with a decline in play and off-field issues, it is unlikely he will stay in Cleveland. There are two massive names in FA if you want to make a splash: Anthony Harris & Justin Simmons. The question comes down to if the Front Office wants to spend around $15m a year on a free agent. The second tier still has very good talent in Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix & Tre Boston who sit in the $8m-$10m range.
Starting SS: ?
Roster – This position largely comes down to the fitness of Morgan Burnett. He was having a solid season and the best game of his year when he went down with an Achilles injury. He is a starter if he makes a return to fitness and that level of play. If he struggles then he is more than likely a cut. He is due a $625k roster bonus on the 20th of March so that likely gives us a steer to his future on the roster.
FA – If the Browns want to use FA to replenish their safety room then the criminally underrated Karl Joseph is set to be an option. If the Browns want to go cheap at the position then an option could be a return of UFA Juston Burris.
Draft – They could also look to the draft, as high as the 2nd round to bring in more talent. A battle between a pick and Redwine means that you have options if the player drafted still needs some time to develop. Despite Redwine appearing to play better as an FS, he could certainly fill the gap.
Rotational S: Sheldrick Redwine
Roster – Redwine finished the season strongly and shows the upside to grow into the role of a starting safety in the future. In the meantime, he should be able to offer a solid option in three safety sets. It will be interesting to see how his development goes over the next few years. His coverage skills are certainly his strength rather than his tackling.
Depth S: ?
FA – It would be good to see the return of UFA Juston Burris depending on how he fairs in FA. He had a solid year but still has a way to go in terms of coverage. There is a real chance he can develop into a starter for the Browns. He will likely take a one year deal where he can prove his worth and take a shot at FA in a year’s time or earn an extension in Cleveland.
Depth S: J.T. Hassell
Roster – He only played 14 snaps on defense last season but showed promise alongside his 53 snaps on special teams. The Browns would be wise to keep the 2019 UDFA around to see what he can do moving forward. Filling a position room with lots of young promising talent is a good place to be in as you would hope at least one of those players makes a solid step forward.
Other: Morgan Burnett
Check back tomorrow for the Special Teams deep dive & conclusion.
Any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JackDuffin. The DMs are open for any salary cap/roster construction questions you have.