Free agents from the NFC the Cleveland Browns should consider targeting
By Dan Justik
Atlanta Falcons: Austin Hooper, Tight End
Tight end may not be a top need for the Browns this offseason, but the position has become more important with Kevin Stefanski coming to town. Stefanski relies on the tight end position and generally keeps two tight ends on the field, so the Browns need to find a tight end who can make plays as a receiver, but is also a solid blocker.
Austin Hooper may be an expensive option, but he fits the criteria for what the Browns need at the position. Hooper emerged as a top pass catcher for the Falcons, but also proved to be a willing blocker.
In 13 games in 2019, Hooper caught 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns. He also accounted for 41 first downs. Hooper might take up some of Cleveland’s cap space, but he may be the tight end Stefanski would want in his offense.
Carolina Panthers: Daryl Williams, Offensive Lineman
Following the 2017 season, Daryl Williams was emerging as one of the top young offensive tackles in the NFL. But after suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2018, Williams has not been able to find that same level of performance.
Williams played every position along the offensive line except for center in 2019, but still seemed a step behind after recovering from his knee injury. Williams allowed 12 sacks last season, which is far from promising.
However, Williams is still only 27-years-old and has room to develop. Working with a top offensive line coach like Bill Callahan could be important for Williams. He is a solid run blocker and could be a cheap option who provides upside at right tackle for the Browns.
New Orleans Saints: Andrus Peat, Offensive Lineman
Andrus Peat would be a similar option to Williams, as he is still a young offensive lineman who is versatile and still has some upside. He would also be another cheap option compared to the top offensive linemen on the market.
Peat can play guard and tackle, although he has been named to the Pro Bowl the last two seasons after playing left guard. He does have some struggles in pass blocking, but could provide a boost at either right tackle or right guard for the Browns and would be cheaper than most free agents.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Carl Nassib, EDGE
Andrew Berry is familiar with Carl Nassib after being a part of the front office responsible for drafting Nassib in 2016. However, after not being able to establish himself as a top edge defender for the Browns, Nassib was waived and joined the Buccaneers.
In two seasons with Tampa Bay, Nassib became a captain for the defense and became a solid edge rusher. In 29 games with the Buccaneers, Nassib made 63 total tackles, 20 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and 25 quarterback hits.
The Browns selected Nassib because of his upside as a pass rusher, and it appears Nassib is starting to figure things out in the NFL. Nassib may be what the Browns need opposite of Myles Garrett and would not cost Cleveland as much as other defensive ends.