5. Andrew Berry’s defensive signings
For Berry’s first time in free agency, the 32-year-old GM did what many consider to be a great job.
On this site, Berry was lauded for being a smart spender. Sure he spent a lot on Jack Conklin, but that money is tied into Conklin’s first two years. Austin Hooper as the highest paid tight end? Better than dropping $90 million on a defensive end.
He fortified the backup quarterback position, as mentioned previously with Keenum, and then he made wise decisions with his other contracts, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
In signing Andrew Billings, Berry signed a 25-year-old who has already logged over 600 defensive snaps. Plus, the former Bengal is able to bring in pressure from the interior. All this costs the Browns was $3.5 million. Not a shabby price to pay for a rotational defensive tackle who will play plenty.
He signed two young 2016 draft picks who didn’t pan out with their original teams to one year prove-it deals. Karl Joseph doesn’t fill the need at free safety, but should be able to help against the run.
Johnson will be counted on to play the side, which is what he did when revived his career with the Bills a season ago.
The bottom line: Berry found two contributors in the defensive backfield that will earn a combined $6 million.