Browns being linked to predictable names in free agency
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns are expected to be players in free agency, and here are four players the team is reportedly interested in.
The NFL kicked off the start of free agency on Monday as teams are now allowed to meet with the agents of free agents in what the league refers to as a “legal tampering” period.
Teams can work out the contract parameters with the agents, but nothing becomes official until after the new league year begins on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
The Cleveland Browns have a little more than $77 million in available cap space, so the team will be linked to just about every available free agent in the coming days. Mary Kay Cabot at cleveland.com got the ball rolling with a list of predictable names that general manager John Dorsey may be considering:
Terrelle Pryor spent two seasons with the Browns after converting from quarterback to wide receiver. He made 15 starts in 2016, finishing with 77 receptions, 1,007 yards and four touchdowns in the final year of his contract. The Browns made him a four-year contract offer that no other team would have made, but Pryor’s agent convinced Pryor that a big payday was waiting in free agency.
That payday never materialized, so Pryor signed a one-year deal with the Washington Redskins, where he failed to match his production with the Browns despite playing with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Pryor has reportedly expressed an interest in coming back to the only team to give him a shot when it seemed like his NFL career was over, but how much interest Dorsey would have in a player with only one good year is unknown.
Trumaine Johnson is familiar to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who coached Johnson with the St. Louis/Los Angles Rams from 2014 through 2016.
The 28-year-old cornerback picked off 10 passes over the past three years to go along with 41 pass breakups. He 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.
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Originally a fourth-round selection out of Clemson by the Washington Redskins in the 2014 NFL Draft, Bashaud Breeland has started 57 games at cornerback for the Redskins. During that time has totaled 270 tackles and picked off eight passes, while adding 60 passes defensed and forcing seven fumbles. Breeland is confident and likes to play a physical game at cornerback, so he could be one to watch as the Browns continue to reshape their secondary.
Nate Solder has been the New England Patriots left tackle since 2011. He is expected to be in high demand as he might be the best non-quarterback to hit free agency. The Patriots reportedly want to keep him, but because of the position he plays, Solder may find a contract that New England simply can’t match.
The reported interest from the Browns could just be Dorsey doing his homework, or it could signal that bad news is about to drop from left tackle Joe Thomas, who has said he will let the Browns know before the start of free agency if he is retiring.
In addition to Pryor, Solder, Johnson and Breeland, the Browns will be linked to just about every former Kansas City Chiefs player because of Dorsey’s former role as the Chiefs general manager.
Names from that group to keep an eye on include linebacker Tamba Hali and safety Ron Parker, along with defensive tackle Donatri Poe, who spent five seasons with the Chiefs before signing as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons in 2017.
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The Chiefs released Hali on Monday and are expected to do the same with Parker, while the Falcons may have to move on from Poe to free up cap space for quarterback Matt Ryan.