Since coming back to the NFL in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have made their share of bad free agency signings. These are the five worst since their re-birth.
General manager John Dorsey has done an excellent job rebuilding the Cleveland Browns in a short period of time. He took over in December of 2017 and watched the team go to 0-17. The problem was easy for Dorsey to see, the former regime didn’t add enough NFL starting-level talent.
This isn’t to say they did nothing good. The truth is, Sashi Brown set Dorsey up for success by acquiring a ton of draft picks while also freeing up cap room. Also true is the belief that Dorsey is the first decision-maker since the Browns returned to the league in 1999 to know what to do with that cap space and the assortment of draft selections.
Dorsey added a star quarterback in Baker Mayfield that already looks to be the best they’ve had since their franchise rebirth. He also brought in Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb. However, his additions don’t end with draft picks as Dorsey filled out the roster by signing defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, linebacker Adarius Taylor, and safety Morgan Burnett. He also potentially added a superstar in Kareem Hunt who is suspended for eight games but could be the lead back when he returns.
With all that being said, we now look back at some of the mistakes from previous personnel men in Cleveland. Here are the five worst free-agent signings since football returned to The Land in 1999.
Toughest Omissions: Gary Baxter, CB, Ross Verba, OT
Putting Gary Baxter on the list was tempting but the failures here were all about health. A former second-round pick out of Baylor, Baxter signed for $30 million over six years but a torn patella tendon in each knee derailed his career.
As for Ross Verba, he was just a bad fit for the Browns. They signed him off the Green Bay Packers roster and he struggled mightily to block anyone. He played all four years of his contract but he probably shouldn’t have.