Shaquil Barrett could be answer to Cleveland Browns edge depth issue
The Cleveland Browns should look to add more talent to the defensive line, and free agent Shaquil Barrett would be a talented addition on the edge.
The Cleveland Browns defense showed flashes of brilliance throughout the 2018 season. They showed the ability to wreak havoc in the backfield while also being a turnover machine in the back-end of the defense.
However, the defense showed to be more prone to chunk plays than those flashes of brilliance. The Browns defense ranked 30th in the NFL in total defense last season and allowed an average of 24.5 points per game.
Despite having a ton of talent on the defense, the Browns are going to need to address some holes on that side of the ball this off-season. One of those holes is on the defensive line and on the edge.
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For most of the season, the Browns did not have the necessary depth on the edge to provide good pressure in the backfield for an entire game. Despite having a rotation at left defensive end with Emmanuel Ogbah and Genard Avery, the Browns struggled to give Myles Garrett enough snaps off throughout the course of a game.
For most of the beginning of the season, Garrett was playing almost every defensive snap. By doing so, he was dealing with fatigue during the late portions of game, causing his effectiveness to drop. In ten games, Garrett played more than 85 percent of the defensive snaps.
In order to keep their entire defensive line effective for an entire game, the Browns need to find another player this off-season to play significant snaps on the edge. One player that would fit that need for the Browns is free agent Shaquil Barrett.
Barrett has played his entire five-year career with the Denver Broncos. The 26-year-old has never been able to secure a full-time starting role, making it extremely likely he leaves Denver in free agency. Stuck behind Von Miller and Bradley Chubb on the depth chart, there were not many snaps for Barrett in 2018.
In that limited role, Barrett made 28 total tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, and seven quarterback hits. Barrett showed his potential as a pass rusher in 2015 when he played in an expanded role, making 42 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and 12 quarterback hits.
Barrett has stated that he wants to be a starter when finding his next team this off-season. However, the position is seen as a strength this off-season with some very good talent at the position in free agency and in the draft. With the depth at the position, it could be hard for Barrett to find a team to offer him starter money.
Barrett would be a solid fit in the Browns defense as the team looks for more players to play on the edge. He may not be a full-time starter in Cleveland, but he could play many meaningful snaps at left defensive end and also sub in for Garrett at right defensive end.
The Browns need to find another pass rusher that can still create pressure when Garrett is on the sidelines. Although he has done it in a limited capacity, Barrett has shown that he can get after the quarterback.
There were rumors around the trade deadline that the Browns were interested in Barrett, but never made a deal with the Broncos. With the amount of cap space the Browns have this off-season, they could overpay for Barrett a little bit in order to secure his services if they are serious in signing him.
Adding Barrett to their edge rotation would create a dynamic group of talent for the Browns. Should the Browns want to add a talented edge that has shown the potential to be a difference maker and is still young, Barrett could be exactly what the Browns defense needs.