Rumored 'Splash' Browns Signing Would Make Defense Even Scarier

A rumored potential Cleveland Browns signing in free agency would make this elite unit even better in 2024.

Dec 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) walks on the
Dec 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) walks on the / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns fans are very intrigued to see what the team will do in free agency. Of course, many have tempered expectations with the team being in the bottom 10 in cap space at the moment.

However, all it takes is a few shrewd cuts or contract maneuvers to free up extra money and go after a premier free agent. If the Browns do go big-game hunting, a defensive upgrade may be in their sights.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler wrote in a new column on the league-wide interest in defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. Fowler pointed out the Houston Texans as one team to watch for the veteran, but he also mentioned the Browns as one who could make a "splash or two."

Now, Cleveland signing Wilkins would be contigent on freeing up more cash. OverTheCap currently lists the Browns at just under $7 million in space, which is the ninth-lowest total in the league right now.

That being said, free agency doesn't open officially until March 13 (with negotiations being allowed starting on March 11), so Andrew Berry has time still to clean up his books if he does want someone of Wilkins' caliber.

Wilkins is set for a major pay day in free agency after breaking out with a career-high 9.0 sacks in 2023 for the Miami Dolphins. This was more than the 8.0 sacks he put up combined across the 2021 and '22 campaigns, showing the former first-round pick is hitting his prime as he enters his age-28 season.

Wilkins' 2023 performance has made him one of the top free agents in this year's class, with ProFootballFocus ranking him No. 7. That kind of talent is going to cost Cleveland, as Spotrac projects the DT for a four-year, $80.9 million deal this offseason.

Even though signing Wilkins would cost the Browns a ton, both in terms of money and the depth that would be sacrificed, it is the exact kind of all-in move a contender makes. This team has one of the best defensive minds in the league leading them with Jim Schwartz at the helm, so there shouldn't be any concern about Cleveland getting its money's worth from Wilkins.

Nonetheless, investing in this squad's biggest strength makes a ton of sense, especially with Myles Garrett coming off of a Defensive Player of the Year win. Wilkins' arrival would make this unit even more of a nightmare and solidify the Browns' contender status heading into the 2024 campaign.

In other Browns news: