Free Agency Preview: Cleveland Browns

Free Agency Preview: Cleveland Browns

Welcome to the Game Changer Sports Network Free Agency Preview series. This is the Cleveland Browns Free Agency Preview. In this series we will be looking at all 32 teams over the next few months and breaking down their key free agents going into the off-season. We will also predict if they re-sign or walk to go get paid.

Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns turned the culture around in 2020. “The Browns is the Browns,” is something the NFL cannot say anymore. This team will mostly still be together next year as they don’t have any top tier free agents beyond DT Larry Ogunjobi. Cleveland goes into this offseason with $29 million in free cap space for next season. This is above the league average and 11th best in the league.

Cleveland Browns Free Agency Preview: Key Free Agents

DT Larry Ogunjobi (26 Years Old)

Ogunjobi should be Cleveland’s top priority going into this off-season. He finished the season with 46 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He was a big reason why the Browns were the ninth best rushing defense in the NFL. There was also the fact that he split time with Sheldon Richardson this season at DT. In his four seasons in the league he has only missed four games.

On the open market a player like Ogunjobi will easily command a contract in the ball park of three years, $33 million. He is coming off his rookie contract. The Browns are already expected to let him test free agency in March.

Prediction: Free Agency

Image Credit: BrownsZone

WR Rashard Higgins (26 Years Old)

Higgins devolved into a solid number two WR for Baker Mayfield after Odell Beckham Jr. went down with an injury this season. He caught 37 receptions on 52 targets for 599 receiving yards and four touchdowns. His big issue this season was fumbles, as he had three. He played in the second most snaps for a wide receiver in Cleveland this season.

Coming off a great season and a one year, $910k contract, Higgins will be getting a pay raise. A WR needy team will probably sign him to a four year, $28 million deal. Unless the Browns decide to trade Odell, this contract doesn’t make a lot of sense for them. His production can be replaced by Odell as well.

Prediction: Free Agency

Image Credit: News5Cleveland

SS Karl Joseph (27 Years Old)

Ronnie Harrison Jr came in and fought him for the starting job early in the year. However, Joseph stepped up and was still a key contributor this season when needed. He finished this season with 67 tackles, 1 interception, and four passes deflected in just 14 games. In his games played he played in more than 50% of defensive snaps in all but two games. He missed a couple games due to Covid.

Joseph signed a one year deal worth $1.5 million before the start of this season. He outplayed and out performed that contract and will be looking for a pay raise. His Market Value will look to be somewhere close to $8 million per year on a three or four year deal.

Prediction: Free Agency

Image Credit: Cleveland Browns

DE Olivier Vernon (31 Years Old)

After getting through almost the entire season, Vernon suffered an achilles injury in week 17 that may force him to miss the start of next season. He finished this season with 36 tackles and 9 sacks, which were both season highs since 2013. He also forced a fumble while playing in 65% of snaps on the season. Vernon was having an incredible prove it year.

As a part of the Odell Beckham Jr trade in 2019, Vernon came over in year four of a five year, $85 million deal. The contract the New York Giants gave him was a clear and obvious bust. He restructured his deal before the 2020 season and only took home $11 million. As per his contract, he cannot be tagged in 2021. Given the injury he has his contract could be all over the place.

Prediction: Re-Signed

Image Credit: SI

LB B.J. Goodson (28 Years Old)

Goodson set a career high in tackles in 2020 with 91. He also had .5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 6 passes deflected as he adjusted to the middle linebacker role. He gave up 27 receptions on 39 attempts with 218 yards and a touchdown. As the season progressed, he became the focal point of the inside linebackers.

Before the season he had signed a one year, $2.4 million deal. Similar to everyone on Cleveland this year, he outplayed his contract and will be looking for a pay raise. His contract will fall in the area of 2 years, $12 million.

Prediction: Free Agency

Image Credit: BrownsNation

Cleveland Browns Free Agency Preview: Everyone Else

Offense: WR Marvin Hall, WR Taywan Taylor, WR Khadarel Hodge, WR Jojo Natson, TE Stephen Carlson, RT Kendall Lamb, T Michael Dunn, G Malcolm Pridgeon, G Colby Gossett

Defense: DT Vincent Taylor, DE George Obinna, LB Tae Davis, LB Porter Gustin, LB Malcom Smith, LB Elijah Lee, CB Kevin Johnson, CB Terrance Mitchell, CB Tavierre Thomas, CB Robert Jackson, SS Andrew Sendejo, S Tedric Thompson

Special Teams: K Cody Parkley

AFC: Baltimore, Buffalo, Kansas City

NFC: Green Bay, New Orleans, Tampa Bay

*All Contract and Cap Room numbers provided by*

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