The Cleveland Browns would be wise to go get Everson Griffen and Clay Matthews III to secure the remaining holes on defense.
The Cleveland Browns have spent a bulk of their budget on offensive free agents so far throughout the off-season. The team has picked up four potential starters but none of them come in with the established success and lineage as Everson Griffen and Clay Matthews III.
Griffen just recently parted ways with the Minnesota Vikings, where he spent the last decade of his career. The pass-rushing defensive end would be a valuable upgrade over Olivier Vernon and would help shore up the run defense as well. At 32-years-old, you’re not going to look to Griffen to get a lengthy and big contract, but a two-year deal, loaded with incentives is the kind of deal you’d hope Griffen would take.
Clay Matthews III, on the other hand, is the son of Cleveland Browns’ royalty. The son of famed linebacker Clay Matthews Jr, the stalwart and defensive leader on those 1980’s teams, Matthews Jr. had a Hall of Fame-caliber career. Something his son has followed suit with. Yet, after a decade with Green Bay and a year with Los Angeles, the soon to be 34-year-old is without a team. Matthews could arguably be had for a two-year deal, like Griffen, loaded with incentives. Neither player is someone you want to overpay for but both players provide necessary pash rushing skills still at their ages.
The Browns would still have a linebacker spot to fill in the draft, but that shouldn’t be that hard to find, not with the holes already filled in a pretty successful free-agent period. The team still needs a guard, a left tackle and a slot receiver, but that’s just about it besides getting positional depth.
Bringing in Matthews would also be a great moment for fans, especially the older ones, who watched or grew up watching his father dominate the middle of the field. Neither guy should be relied upon to be the face of the defense, but both bring experience, leadership and all sorts of intangibles on top of their talent to warrant a shot.