J.J. Watt isn’t the Browns only move in free agency.
J.J. Watt is the prize free-agent catch for the Browns, as well as as about seven other teams, but even if Cleveland can’t land the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, there are still moves to make, and GM Andrew Berry reportedly has big plans.
The Browns have been linked to free agent linebacker Lavonte David, as well as wide receiver Breshad Perriman. Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot described both players as being on the team’s radar.
David will perk up the ears of Browns fans, considering he plays a major position of need and was a big contributor in slowing down Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl.
The Browns seemed to neglect the linebacker position last season, letting Joe Schobert walk in free agency and releasing Christian Kirksey. They didn’t add a linebacker until the fourth round of the draft, selecting Jacob Phillips.
Berry signed B.J. Goodson to help fill out the depth chart, and the veteran actually proved to be a valuable asset, especially later in the season. Mack Wilson really struggled, but Sione Takitaki looked strong on running downs. Phillips also looked promising by the end of the campaign, as his speed is something the Browns had been lacking.
Malcom Smith was also brought in in Training Camp when injuries were plaguing the position and the veteran Super Bowl champ played decently. Cabot wrote the Browns might try and bring him back.
Heading into a year in which the Browns are looking to go deeper in the playoffs, the linebacking corps is still more question mark than certainty. Adding David changes that.
The veteran ranked as PFF’s No. 5 overall linebacker when their final grades were tallied. He was No. 6 in coverage.
On the downside, David is going into his ninth season. Sportrac estimates he’ll earn, on average, $12.71 million per year. While we are all well aware of his ability, Browns fans also witnessed Jamie Collins come to town. The former Patriot went from an elite player beloved by analytics sites such as PFF, to a guy who looked disinterested in playing.
Perriman is a name familiar to Browns’ fans, as he had a career resurgence in the second half of the 2018 season with Baker Mayfield throwing to him as his deep option. The Browns were going to bring him back in 2019, but then traded for Odell Beckham Jr. Perriman left town but hasn’t been able to stick anywhere. He was on the Jets last season, but considering how bad New York, it was hard for any offensive player to stand out.
Cabot wrote Perriman’s market value is $8.8 million. She noted that could be problem is the Browns try to re-sign Rashard Higgins.
Higgins wants to return and the Browns would like to bring him back, but with so much money invested in Beckham and Landry, there’s not enough money to spread around at the position group.