4 Former Cleveland Browns players who could return in 2020
By Mitch Zoloty
Defensive Tackle Danny Shelton (2015-2017)
Danny Shelton’s career has not lived up to what people thought it would. There is no debating that. He has been, however, doing significantly better on the Patriots than he did on the Browns. Last season, Danny Shelton had a career-high in sacks, tackles, forced fumbles, and tied his career-high for quarterback hits.
The big defensive tackle is not the most mobile guy, and has never been. The Patriots used him as a two-gap player to plug up holes and run lanes. Shelton’s playstyle doesn’t show up on stat sheets, but he benefits his teammates greatly. The Browns are in desperate need of a big body like Shelton on their defensive line.
Defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi are both high quality starting defensive tackles. The problem is, though, that they are both three techniques. Three techniques are your more mobile and agile defensive tackles. They are the defensive tackles like Aaron Donald that stuff the stat sheet and rack you up the big numbers. The caveat to stacking your defensive line with three techniques is that, due to size, they are usually worse off against the run.
If the Browns were able to bring back Danny Shelton to rotate with Richardson and Ogunjobi, and come in on third and short and goal-line packages, the Browns run defense could greatly benefit. Adding a man of his stature makes it harder for defenses to get movement on double teams. It’s simple physics, it is harder to move a man who is 345 lbs than it is a man who is 295 lbs.
The biggest question with Danny Shelton, like all the other players on this list, is how much money it will cost to bring them back. If the Patriots decide to move on from Danny Shelton, the Browns could get him decently cheap. I don’t think the front office is willing to drop big bucks on a backup, but I do not believe that Danny Shelton is best suited for a starting role in the NFL.
At the age of 26, he still has a lot of time to grow as a player too. If the Browns can bring him back on a 2-3 year deal around $3-4.5 million a year, I think it would be a great investment for the franchise. I’m not sure of the market on his contract yet, as there has not been much news about his free agency, but the most I could see the Browns giving up for him would be a three-year deal worth around $14 million.