Just because we have gone through Free Agency and the NFL Draft doesn’t mean the Browns should stop looking to add talent. Andrew Berry has promised to be “aggressive” as general manager of the Browns. It is important to balance aggressiveness with being wasteful. He has confidently delivered an intelligent plan over the last three months. Let’s take a look at free agency talent the Browns can continue to add per position room before we get to roster cut-down later this off-season.
Trevor Siemian & Cody Kessler
Andrew Berry has spent extensive time with the Eagles front office. They are strong proponents of a three quarterback rotation. If they don’t feel confident in Garrett Gilbert or Kevin Davidson then one of these two free agents could be on the card. Siemian was with Stefanski in Minnesota and Berry was in the front office when Kessler was drafted by the Browns. Both unlikely but possible moves.
Devonta Freeman, Ty Montgomery, Theo Riddick, Chris Thompson & FB Zach Line
We don’t know how the Browns view Kareem Hunt long term, maybe an offer of a 3rd round pick next year might be enough to let him go. The Browns would likely look to add a proven receiving back behind Nick Chubb. Freeman might cost more but the other three should now be available on one-year contracts for cheap to veteran minimum cost.
If anything happens to Janovich then expect Zach Line to be the first call the Browns make as the only proven quality available at fullback.
Demaryius Thomas, Paul Richardson, Dontrelle Inman & Josh Gordon
The Browns have injury question marks next to all three of their top wide receivers. They could easily look to add a fourth name with a lack of promising young talent that is ready to deliver. If Donovan Peoples-Jones locks down the fifth slot for the special teams’ returner angle.
The first three offer a solid player that is unlikely to wow fans but gives you a solid production if needed. Josh Gordon could be an intriguing name to bring back. With the CBA changing the rules around drug testing, he could be able to develop into the player that has flashed at times.
David Morgan, Luke Stocker, Lance Kendricks & Charles Clay
The Browns have three fantastic tight ends locked into the roster but they are much more suited to the receiving game than blocking. David Morgan was with the Vikings for several years. The name they are most likely competing against is Stephen Carlson.
If anything happens to Wills or Conklin then the first name the Browns will call with be Jason Peters. A proven left tackle who could cover if an injury strikes. Chances are a team jumps on Peters before anything happens but certainly one to keep in mind if something goes wrong. In terms of tackle depth, the Browns are loaded.
Interior Offensive Line
This is the first position room that I can’t see the Browns adding anyone. The Browns have an abundance of talent and like have other teams trading for or claiming their leftovers on waivers.
Jadeveon Clowney, Everson Griffen, Vinny Curry, Ezekiel Ansah, Jabaal Sheard & Michael Bennett
The Browns could go big and sign Clowney on a one year deal. He would be an upgrade on Vernon with smaller injury risk. Plus if the Browns can then flip Vernon for a pick, Clowney is more likely to net them a bigger compensation pick next offseason. Griffin would have been an option as the third edge but likely doesn’t fit opposite Garrett.
There is also a lack of depth behind the first three names, the Browns could look to add a solid talent in Curry, Ansah, Sheard or Bennett. They would then have phenomenal depth in the rotation as well as cover if Vernon goes down injured.
The Browns have all four defensive tackles locked in on the roster. Richardson starts at three-technique with Elliott backing him up. Then a camp battle between Ogunjobi and Billings for the one technique. There is little depth behind this, I can’t see teams lining up to get anyone else.
Bradham is the obvious candidate and would become an instant starter for the Browns. There are some players you could run the tires on like Wesley Woodyard and Sean Lee who can get back to their 2018 form. It would have to be a veteran minimum with low to no guarantees though.
Logan Ryan, Darqueze Dennard, Javien Elliott, Eli Apple, Aqib Talib & Prince Amukamara
The Browns have a need at slot cornerback currently, Johnson is the nearest they have to the position but he hasn’t regularly players there and has injury questions. Ryan is the biggest name here but Dennard is younger and offers more upside. A cheaper option is Elliott who has been with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers.
Apple hasn’t graded well since he joined the league but there is certainly promise there. It wouldn’t be the first time a first-round CB has needed several years in the league before finding their feet. Talib had a poor year last year but offers a rich past before that. Prince Amukamara will give you above-average play at a position where we have only one proven starter in Ward.
Tavon Wilson & Clayton Geathers
If the Browns are committed to a three safety base defense then adding more box safeties could be an option. There are two currently available who could come in and do a solid job. Both can also cover deep and offer that post-snap flexibility that worry opposition quarterbacks.
There aren’t any free agency kickers that stand out. Adam Vinatieri is considering coming out of retirement but struggled for the last two years. Ryan Succop was injured most of last year so it could be a camp option for the Browns. Likely the best route here would be a UDFA to challenge Austin Seibert who had a questionable record when it came to extra points. The obvious answer would be to go for two the majority of the time with our star-powered offense but we will see how far the team is willing to use data to assist them. Too often head coaches focus on the ‘NFL consensus decision’ rather than the optimal one.
There is still plenty of talent available for the Browns to add. They certainly need to be careful when it comes to spending their salary cap space. They have a very expensive extension to agree with Myles Garrett and possibly and an even bigger one with Baker Mayfield next offseason. They also heavily backloaded the deals for Conklin and Hooper which creates a false sense of cap space in 2019. Both deals will appear on the salary cap after the players have left and playing for new teams.
While one-year deals are a great way to trial lots of players and attract more players, they are in the shop window for the entire league so there is a chance most don’t stay and need replacing next offseason. It is important the Browns keep as much cap space as possible for flexibility to cover all outcomes.
The Browns have overspent the salary cap the last two years so it is important not to waste any more of the cap rollover. Now is a great time to move on free agents, they are likely to accept cheaper one year deals with promising teams on the rise so they can set themselves up for a better free agency in 2021.
I hope you enjoyed the piece, if you have any questions feel free to ask me on Twitter at @JackDuffin, my DM’s are always open.