Smart teams use Free Agency to fill the holes on their roster and the draft to add the top talent they can find. The Bengals had a really good free agency class last offseason, adding several names who performed at a solid level filling out their roster. Let’s look at some cheaper names the Browns could look to add this offseason. I am only looking at unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents whose teams still control them with the option of placing a tender on them have been left out.
Several of the names on the list below would just be players I would bring into camp and compete for a roster spot, by no means are they a lock. Some are the sorts of players like Elijah Lee and Sheldon Day who might end up on a practice squad.
Jamison Crowder – If the team moves on from Jarvis Landry and wants another slot receiver to compliment a bigger splash player in free agency then Crowder could be the guy. He is very solid at what he does and will give the quarterback a nice easy option. A one-year veteran to cover any cracks while the young receiver core develops for another year.
Noah Brown – He was buried in a very talented wide receiver room in Dallas so a new team seems very likely this offseason. He is likely to be a very low-risk option for the team that signs him. Let him come in and compete in camp. He might make the roster or be an option to stash on the practice squad.
OJ Howard – A chance to pair the most athletic tight end from the 2017 draft class with David Njoku in a move that has massive upside. Injury risks are the concern but if you have Njoku and Bryant on the roster it won’t be the end of the world if he goes down. Take a gamble and see if he can offer you something extra with what is likely to be a young and developing wide receiver room.
Cornelius Lucas – Mr. Consistent at the swing tackle position, perfect injury cover for Conklin, a player like Lucas gives you lots of security at the position while Hudson continues developing.
Dennis Kelly or Tom Compton – Older swing tackles who give you security, not as good as Lucas but can certainly do a job if called upon. At such a cheap price they could be ones to call upon if someone goes down.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – I wish I had more names throughout here where the Browns have Myles and nothing else on the roster but there is only one. Okoronkwo is slightly smaller than the team would likely want at 253lbs but as an edge three who will hopefully be a pass rush specialist, he should fit perfectly in the spot.
Al Woods – An older player at the end of their career but the Browns have been so poor at the interior of the defensive line I don’t think they can leave any stone unturned. Despite sitting out in 2020, he came back and delivered a great year in 2021. A veteran who could cost about $2m and come in and play 50% of your defensive snaps would really help out the worst unit on the team.
Tim Settle – He hasn’t played too much but the Commander’s defensive line is their strength so that isn’t always a negative. Take a risk and see what he can come in and do for the team. He is more of a pass rusher than a run defender despite being a big player but it really comes down to what the Front Office and coaching staff value.
Zach Kerr – Last year was certainly a poor one but seems an outlier compared to what we have seen before that. We have seen the Front Office grab as many players as possible and let them work it out so he could be the next in line for their experiment.
Taven Bryan – A former first-round pick that started with two great years then followed it up with two very inconsistent seasons. Worth a risk on a one-year deal with his upside. Throw him in the mix and see where it shakes out.
Maurice Hurst – The medical will be the big question, I don’t know how much the team has changed since the NFL Draft where it appears he wasn’t on the board. But worth reaching out to them and asking for some up-to-date tests, it could be more information and research has come to light. The talent is undeniable if he can stay healthy.
Danny Shelton – The last two years with the Lions and Giants haven’t been good but for a minimum deal I would be up for bringing him back and seeing if he can be the team’s run stuffer as we will have some plays where his body type will really help.
Josh Bynes – If the Browns want to give Phillips a real shot at starting as the team’s MIKE by not bringing Walker back then they will still need another linebacker to join the roster as security. Bynes is exactly the guy they need, he has plenty of AFC North experience and can do a solid job for the team.
Rodney McLeod – If the team isn’t as sure about Delpit’s health then they might look to add a safety who can cover the closer to the line of scrimmage play should he go down. An experienced veteran on a cheap deal allows them time to develop Tony Fields and possibly another draft pick this year.
DeAndre Houston-Carson – If MJ Stewart takes a prove-it deal elsewhere with more playing time then they will likely need to find another safety for their dime packages, even if they believe in Delpit. Houston-Carson fits that mold after a great season in Chicago.
Any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JackDuffin. The DMs are open for any salary cap/roster construction questions you have.