Cleveland! This is for you! Every football fan should be happy for the Browns. For years, the Browns were the laughing stock of the NFL. Now, it looks like those days are over. The Browns figured it out last year. All they needed was a double headed monster at running back, and of course, Baker Mayfield. Mayfield had a slowish start last year but then he picked it up and man did Cleveland turn some heads last season. The best part was that not only did they have a winning season, but they also made the playoffs. Beating Pittsburgh on the road and then nearly taking out Kansas City was incredible to watch. But, can Cleveland do it again?
The man who is responsible for the Browns success, Andrew Berry did a great job in his first season with the team. But, now that free agency is under way he’s back to work. He needs to hurry though. At this point, the New England Patriots are determined to sign everyone. If the Browns want any quality free agents, Berry needs to be working quickly. Berry has $24.87 million to work with. Already Cleveland has signed safety John Johnson from the Los Angeles Rams. The deal is three years for $33,750,000. So there’s that. But what about everything else?
New England fans look away. Cleveland could sign Kyle Van Noy for cheap. Yes, Van Noy is young, but, Cleveland can either get him for a one year prove it deal, or, maybe a two year deal. Van Noy is an explosive linebacker who can rush the quarterback and also cover the field if needed. His career didn’t truly spark until he was traded to New England. During his time in New England, Van Noy was one of the best players on the team and was part of the one-two linebacker punch with Dont’a Hightower.
Kwon Alexander shouldn’t be a free agent… but he is. The Saints had no choice but to release him due to their cap issues. With Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati losing key defensive guys, Cleveland should go out and go get one of the best young linebackers in the league. Break the bank Cleveland!
Solomon Thomas was one of the many 49er players who went down due to injury while playing at MetLife stadium. Thomas has a lot of talent and Myles Garrett could use a friend on the defensive line. A defensive line that has both Solomon Thomas and Myles Garrett, yeah… no thank you if I was a quarterback. 2020 was going to be a break out year for Thomas. Yes, it’s been a slow start, but, Thomas would be different with a change of scenery. 2021 will be a huge comeback year for Thomas… and every other 49er that was injured due to the Jets/Giants poor field management.
Carlos Dunlap would be a perfect fit. He’s an experienced vet who was cursed due to being in Cincinnati. Last year he was in Seattle and totaled five sacks. He was a vocal leader for the defensive line which is something Cleveland could use. Plus, Dunlap would love to go up against his former team twice a year. Not to mention too, Dunlap is a tackling machine. Dunlap is a match made in heaven for the Browns.
Other than Denzel Ward, the Browns need a cornerback. Like Carlos Dunlap, Xavier Rhodes is an experienced veteran who can be a vocal leader in the locker room and on the field. Rhodes spent last season in Indianapolis getting two interceptions, one pick six, twelve passes defended, and 48 total tackles. He’s still got a few years left in him and Cleveland needs someone like him in their secondary.
Rumor has it that the Jets are taking calls for C.J. Mosley who has been a disappointment. He hasn’t been able to escape injuries and he opted out last season. Cleveland should atleast to attempt to trade for him because again, they could use an extra linebacker. Mosley has a lot of talent, it’s just that he hasn’t been able to show it off due to injuries and opting out. Mosley was considered a top free agent signing when he went to the Jets. Again too, sometimes a change of scenery makes or breaks a player. In this case with Mosley to the Jets, it broke him. Cleveland is the perfect place for him to bring his career back to life.
Patrick Jones from Pitt is a friend for Myles Garrett. Jones is coming off of a nine sack season for the Pitt Panthers as well as having 44 total tackles. If Cleveland misses out on a defensive end in free agency, they need to draft Jones and have him learn from Myles Garrett.
Cleveland isn’t going anywhere. This team has talent that won’t go wasted. The future is bright for Cleveland and general manager Andrew Berry is the man that will lead them to the top. Berry might be one of the best signings in franchise history. He will turn this organization around. Watch out for Cleveland for years to come!
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-Matt Burnett (@mattthew_jordan on Twitter)