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 year 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 the 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
16 Games, 33 Tackles, 6 Sacks, 2 Forced Fumbles
PFF Grade/Rank: (Link)
Grade: 14.4, Rank: 2nd Among Interior Defensive Lineman (Only Ndamukong Suh is ahead of him.)
2014 Free Agent Signing Comparison Contract
Henry Melton (4 years, $29 million with the Dallas Cowboys)
Last year's nose/defensive tackle class was nowhere near as strong as this year's. Melton got what looks like a big deal but a lot of it was dependent on staying healthy and performing. Paea has stayed pretty healthy and should get far more up front and can play both in the even and odd man fronts, helping his value.
Fit with the Browns
Paea is a great fit for the Browns. He would go perfectly into the Nose Tackle position but can play on the outside a bit if the Browns want to move him around. Paea's best attribute is his strength. He set the bench press record at the NFL Combine and combines that with a low center of gravity and strong work ethic to be the perfect kind of Cleveland Browns nose tackle that Mike Pettine needs.
Browns Player Signing Could Impact
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Phil Taylor - Taylor could be cut and the Browns would save some salary cap space. Taylor has the look of a big, burly nose tackle but plays the game like a 4-3 defensive end. Not a great combination for the Browns. He is very talented and could benefit from being paired next to Paea but if the Browns want to go cheaper, or get a little more cap space then he could be cut.
How Signing Could Impact the NFL Draft
Bringing in Paea would dramatically impact how the Browns attack the draft. Right now, most agree that the team should go after one of the big uglies for the middle of their line. Danny Shelton, Malcom Brown and Jordan Phillips have all been mentioned as possibilities. If the Browns sign Paea they could still go that route but also open themselves up to improving the defense with a defensive end, outside linebacker or even to go offense with both of their first round picks.
High - This might be the player I pound my fist on the table for if I am Mike Pettine. The Browns defense needs beef and strength at the point of attack and that defines Paea. It also opens up a chance to do a few things in the NFL Draft that would not be the best choice if they don't fill the hole in free agency. Paea is a unique talent but, with limited pass rushing, might be attainable relatively cheaply.
What do you think about targeting Stephen Paea in Browns Free Agency?