What is the Cleveland Browns plan with all of the one-year deals?
By Ryan Murphy
New Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry has been busy since the legal tampering period began on Monday. They have been especially busy in signing players on the defensive side of the ball to one-year deals.
The Cleveland Browns made a flurry of moves this week on both sides of the ball; however, they attacked the defensive side of the ball quite differently than the offensive side. Instead of tying money to players in future years like they did offensively, the Browns shelled out one-year deals. A sort of trial before they buy to see how these players fit into the system.
Notice a lot of these one-year signings are players coming off their rookie deals, who the Browns think they can get more out of. See safety Karl Joseph and defensive tackle Andrew Billings. Count cornerback Kevin Johnson in that mix as well, although he has seen free agency before.
These are players who had a lot of promise as young players, but did not become the stars teams expect first round picks to become, such as Johnson and Joseph. Both are former first round picks who had a lot of problems, and both have had issues with injuries. They have shown promise, but the Browns are giving them one-year deals to try to get more out of them before they tie money to them.
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Billings is a fourth round draft pick, but has plenty of quality traits that would make the Browns give him a chance. He is a quality depth piece for the interior defensive line, where there are no bodies the Browns can count on. This was a good signing, and the Browns were smart to give him a one-year “prove it” deal before trying to extend him long-term.
Berry also attempted to plug the hole at linebacker with 26-year-old B.J. Goodson. Goodson is not a three-down linebacker, but he has been solid against the run. He lacks in pass coverage, but his role with the Browns will be plugging rushing lanes on running downs. This was another one-year deal. Berry was smart to not tie money to Goodson long-term, as there are some prospects in the draft who could split time in 2020 and be ready to start in a year.
In another one-year deal, the Browns added a much-needed body in the defensive back room. Andrew Sendejo agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal. He has a coverage grade of 89.7 the past three seasons, per Pro Football Focus. The 32-year-old is a great veteran addition to a young room. This was another smart one-year deal because the safety class in the draft is very deep and Sendejo is getting up there in age. Berry is obviously not going to sign an old safety long-term, but to be a body in a room for a season.
Berry and his team are absolutely killing it in their first free agency. They are executing a plan to make the roster better for their system. They have not only identified weaknesses on the roster, but filled holes without overpaying and tying too much money to players.