Will the Browns benefit from the Marcus Peters trade?
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns may be the beneficiary of the Los Angeles Rams acquiring cornerback Marcus Peters as it could lead Trumaine Johnson to Cleveland.
The Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly working out the final details on a trade to send cornerback Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams.
And the Cleveland Browns may wind up being on the winning side of the transaction, which was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
With the Rams acquiring Peters, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who has 19 interceptions in the past three seasons, they may be signaling that they are ready to move on from cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who was already going to be a hot commodity in free agency.
Enter the Browns, who have money to spend, a need at cornerback, and a familiarity with Johnson as current defensive coordinator Gregg Williams coached Johnson with the Rams from 2014 through 2016.
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There is a lot to like about the 28-year-old Johnson. While not as proficient at interceptions as Peters, Johnson has picked off 10 passes over the past three years to go along with 41 pass breakups.
Johnson had his best season in 2015, when he intercepted seven passes, but his game has slipped a bit the past two seasons. That is always a concern, although a reunion with Williams could reinvigorate Johnson’s game.
The other concern is how much of a contract that Johnson will command in free agency after playing the past two seasons with the Rams under the franchise tag. According to spotrac.com, Johnson could be inline for a five-year deal worth around $68 million.
Of course, with more than $100 million in available cap space, that would be a drop in the bucket for general manager John Dorsey to spend.
Adding Johnson would certainly make the Browns secondary much better, especially if cornerback Jason McCourty can have another solid season and cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun continues to be one of the game’s best slot corners.
Signing Johnson in free agency and the selecting a safety in the 2018 NFL Draft to pair with Jabrill Peppers, and suddenly the Browns secondary is on par with the front seven and puts the pieces in place for a defense that can get fans excited.
The Browns were going to be in the running to sign Johnson because of his familiarity and success in Williams’ defensive scheme.
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The Chiefs trading Peters to the Rams may have just been the extra push the Browns need to land a potential difference-maker in the secondary.