Cleveland Browns address major need with Karl Joseph signing
By Dan Justik
The Cleveland Browns have been busy during the start of free agency, and they have not stopped as they agreed to a deal with safety Karl Joseph.
Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry has lived up to his word that he will be aggressive adding talent to the roster. That approach continued on Wednesday as the Browns agreed to a deal with safety Karl Joseph, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The 26-year-old safety was a first round pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 2016 NFL Draft. However, after struggling to live up to his draft status, the Raiders declined his fifth-year option last year, making Joseph a free agent this offseason.
Joseph started the first nine games last season before his season ended due to a foot injury. In those nine games, Joseph made 49 total tackles, four tackles for loss, one interception and three passes defensed.
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Although Joseph did not live up to the status of being a first round pick, he still proved to be a solid contributor in his four seasons with the Raiders. In 49 career games, Joseph made 236 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, one forced fumble, four interceptions, and 15 passes defensed.
Joseph is more likely to play in the box instead of playing in single-high coverage. He is a physical tackler who can come downhill and lay massive hits on ball-carriers. Joseph does not excel in coverage and can be a bit of a liability, so he is best suited playing closer to the line of scrimmage and making more of an impact against the run.
The addition of Joseph will be a big signing for the Browns considering Cleveland’s lack of depth at safety. Before the agreement with Joseph, the Browns only had two safeties under contract: Sheldrick Redwine and J.T. Hassell.
With Joe Woods as the Browns defensive coordinator, there is a chance he decides to use a roaming safety more frequently than having a third linebacker in the box. If that is the case, Joseph would be a good fit for that role.
On a one-year deal, Joseph will be looking to rebuild his value in a new defense after an injury shortened season in 2019. Joseph has been unable to play a full season during his four-year career so far, so proving he can stay healthy will be important for Joseph.
It may not have been the big move at safety that was expected from the Browns (i.e. trading for Anthony Harris), but it is a solid move to fill a massive need. Berry likely is not done adding to the safety room, but it was important he landed a veteran for the backend of the defense