Browns' 3 Biggest Priorities to Start the Offseason

While the Cleveland Browns have a lot that they need to improve upon this offseason, putting these three priorities on the backburner would be a major mistake.

The Browns have three major priorities to address at the beginning of the NFL offseason.
The Browns have three major priorities to address at the beginning of the NFL offseason. / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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3.Browns Must Re-Sign Za'Darius Smith

Browns fans had high hopes for Za'Darius Smith when the franchise acquired him (and draft picks) from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a pair of fifth-rounders. After all, Smith is a three-time Pro Bowl defender who racked up at least 10 sacks in each of the three full seasons he played.

If you only followed the box scores, chances are Smith's basic statistics didn't impress you too much. His solo tackles (18), sacks (5.5), and defended passes (3) were all down from last year's totals of 32, 10.0, and five, respectively. Now that Smith is about to hit free agency, it wouldn't be surprising if some fans don't think that he deserves the $12.4 million Spotrac projects him to make annually based on that performance.

Having said that, Smith does a lot of amazing things that don't show up in ordinary box scores. He's still one of the biggest nightmares for quarterbacks today, proven by his 86.8 pass-rush grade on Pro Football Focus — ninth-best among 104 qualified exterior defenders. His 83.1 grade for overall defense also ranks 16th-best at his position.

Smith was the perfect complement for Myles Garrett, resulting in the Browns owning the No. 1 pass-rush grade on PFF. Breaking up the dynamic duo would be detrimental to the defensive line, meaning GM Berry must prioritize finding a way to re-sign the former All-Pro defender.

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