B.J. Raji: Browns Free Agency Profile
By Joe Zevchek
The Cleveland Browns season is over. We will spend a good amount of time reviewing the season but we will spend even more time preparing for the off-season. Browns free agency seems destined to be an interesting one. The Browns spent a little bit of money last year with anticipating of building through the draft for long term success. The 2014 was expected to be another down year with high expectations towards the future.
Instead the 2014 started off strong and ended with a thud. Now the Browns are full of salary cap space, even though they have a few free agents of their own they might like to sign, as well as 10 picks in the NFL Draft, including two 1st rounders. It is likely that GM Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine see a greater need for more veteran talent on a very young roster and we expect them to be aggressive in seeking to bring in that talent during Browns free agency.
In preparation for such we will be taking a look at certain players that we think the Browns could target. Keep in mind we are not saying that these are players they are targeting, although some rumors may start to leak of the Browns having interest in them, instead these are players that we think the Browns could or should have interest in. Our profile will try to include as much information as possible to prepare you for free agency.
Every Free Agent Profile Done Can Be Found Here: 2015 Browns Free Agency Profile List
Green Bay Packers
Raji was given a grade of zero because he was out for the season. His zero grade ranks him 23rd among free agent Interior Linemen.
2014 Free Agent Signing Comparison Contract
Michael Johnson (5 yr/ $43 mil with Tampa Bay).
Fit with the Browns
One of the most persistent issues with the Browns this year was an inability to stop the run. This was surprising due to the solid depth that the team has built along the defensive line the past few years. Moreover, the line was inconsistent at best in generating a respectable pass rush. However, the attrition of injuries to almost every member of the unit at some point this year compounded the issue. The return of Phil Taylor and Armonty Bryant will certainly help, but the team is also likely to lose NT Ahtyba Rubin to free agency. Raji has the size to play NT or DT, and the athleticism to play DE. The big question is whether Raji can regain his peak form. He spent all of 2014 on the IR with a torn bicep, and 2013 was his least productive season, statistically speaking. However, Raji has always been a steady, consistent force in the middle of Green Bay’s defense and Mike Pettine and Jim O’Neil crave players with Raji’s versatility. While Raji would not come very cheaply, he would certainly be an upgrade on the Cleveland defensive line. Additionally, he would be still demand a lower price tag than Ndamukong Suh, and come without Suh’s antics, which are the absolute last thing the Browns need going into next year.
Browns Player Signing Could Impact
Outside of Rubin, John Hughes could possibly be impacted and be in danger of losing a roster spot. Taylor has shown his own worth by his absence, and while Hughes has been a decent player, he has mostly been outplayed by two 7th-round picks in Billy Winn and Bryant. To be fair to Hughes, most thought the Browns made a huge reach by selecting him in the 3rd round of 2012, and it’s doubtful anyone would have reservations cutting ties after signing a premier player like Raji.
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How Signing Could Impact the NFL Draft
The Browns have a number of needs but a stud DL and WR are probably at the top of the list. Signing Raji would address one of those and allow the Browns to concentrate on finding a WR in the first round or otherwise taking a “best player available” approach without worrying about position as much.
High. The Browns defense has shown potential, but the front 7 needs depth and an infusion of talent. Raji would be a great fit, provided the Browns are satisfied with his recovery from his injury.
What do you think about targeting B.J. Raji in Browns Free Agency?