Browns: 5 players Cleveland must sign after missing on J.J. Watt

Browns Justin Houston (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Browns Justin Houston (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Browns Justin Houston (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

5. Justin Houston

The 22.0 sack season of 2014 is long in the rear-view mirror, but Houston can still be an effective player.

After he was released by the Chiefs, Houston was a productive player in two seasons with the Colts. In that span, he had 30 quarterback hits and 19 sacks, while forcing three fumbles, in addition to totaling 53 quarterback pressures.

The same rule of thumb that we were all going to apply to Watt applies to Houston. He won’t be playing on 95 percent of the team’s snaps. However, if he plays 60 percent, that’s great. Chances are, he’ll be effective.

Plus, he’s not going to require some massive multi-year contract. The Browns can offer a two-year deal with the guarantees coming in 2021.

The Browns can then continue to use rotational players such as Porter Gustin, and perhaps, Curtis Weaver, a player they claimed off waivers from the Dolphins after the rookie was injured in camp.

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Plus, the Browns could always go defensive end in the later part of the first round. Having someone like Houston would help Cleveland ease in their new pressure and not put the weight of the world on him to produce a double-digit sack season.