The Cleveland Browns have rebuilt most of their roster, but could they potentially add the two veteran defenders? One NFL writer believes that the Browns are the best match for two free agents.
One of the most important items that Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey has done this season was building a roster with depth. Not only do the Browns have the starting talent that can win games, they have the depth that can keep the team competitive.
The Browns still have around $70 million left in cap space, giving them the option of adding veterans on one-year deals. Dorsey has been aggressive in adding talent to the Browns roster, and hitting what remains of the free agent market could help Dorsey add bolster their roster.
Two of the most intriguing players that are left unsigned are safety Kenny Vaccaro and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report believes that these two players would make sense for Cleveland to sign.
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"On paper, Cleveland’s starting safeties right now are Damarious Randall and Jabrill Peppers. The former is a converted cornerback, and to say the latter struggled as a rookie would be an enormous understatement.If nothing else, Vaccaro could provide depth behind the pair. He’d likely replace one of them as a starter, though."
Vaccaro was a first-round pick in 2013, but has had an up and down career as a safety. In his five-year career, Vaccaro has 385 total tackles, eight interceptions, 29 passes defended, and four forced fumbles.
Vaccaro plays more of the hybrid safety role more than being a free safety. He has proven to be a solid run stuffer and can make plays when the ball is in the air. But he may not be the best fit for the Browns.
The Browns already have two strong safeties that like to play in the box in Peppers and Kindred. If Cleveland were to sign a veteran to build depth at the safety position, they would be better suited to sign a safety that is in the mold of a center-field, ball hawk free safety.
Davenport also mentioned Hankins as a good match for the Browns, especially after the Browns traded Danny Shelton this off-season.
"The Browns could give Hankins a one-year, $8 million deal without breaking a sweat. After trading Danny Shelton in the offseason, they’re woefully thin at the 1-technique spot—and both tackle spots, too."
Although it may be a reach saying the Browns are “woefully thin” at the tackle position, adding Hankins would give Cleveland an incredibly strong defensive line and front seven.
In his five-year career, Hankins has compiled 184 total tackles, 12 sacks, and three forced fumbles. Hankins is a very good run stuffing tackle that can play as the one-technique. But he has shown that he can rush the passer, as he had a seven sack season in 2014.
The Browns traded Shelton because they wanted to give Larry Ogunjobi more snaps as a starter. Adding Hankins would either take away snaps from him or Trevon Coley, who proved to be a good run-stuffing tackle whenhe started last season. The Browns are also confident in Jamie Meder and Caleb Brantley to come in and give either starter time to rest.
Although adding Hankins and Vaccaro would be good depth for the Browns, it would not make sense for the Browns to sign either. With the way they have built the roster, they want to give the younger players at safety and defensive tackle snaps. Adding either of the free agents would take away most of those snaps.
The Browns have the cap space to make some aggressive free agent signing. But it would not be in the best interest of the team to take away snaps from Cleveland’s talented young players. And it is not like the Browns are doing whatever they can to win a Super Bowl this season and need veterans to take them over the hump.