Grading the Cleveland Browns first wave of free agency
By Greg Newland
Andrew Billings, Defensive Tackle: A+
Andrew Berry continued to build on defense bolstering defensive line depth with Andrew Billings who signed a one-year $3.5 million all fully guaranteed deal. Billings may not be a flashy signing but is strong as a bull and dominant against the run. Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi will welcome some depth at defensive tackle to keep everyone fresh.
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Billings did miss his entire rookie season in 2016 with a knee injury, but the Browns will be limited on risk with a one-year deal. With Ogunjobi on a contract year, this addition gives the Browns options on who they like moving forward long-term.
Look for Billings to shine in run support with the Browns and allowing Ogunjobi to rush the passer with more energy. He may be slightly forgotten now but won’t be at the end of the 2020 season.
Kevin Johnson, Cornerback: A-
While both safety positions were open, nickel back was also a concern with T.J. Carrie being cut earlier this year. Former first-round pick Kevin Johnson will fit that role nicely in 2020 after signing a one-year $3.5 million that could hit $6 million with incentives deal.
Johnson has struggled with injuries before a healthy 2019 season. If he can stay healthy his athleticism and strong open-field tackling will be a huge asset for Joe Woods and the Browns defense in 2020. With Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams struggling at times in open-field tackling, Johnson and Joseph will both be welcomed additions. Another one-year deal that keeps the Browns flexible, Johnson was a great find by Berry with a high ceiling.