Ranking the Cleveland Browns initial offseason moves by order of importance
By Randy Gurzi
3. Signed Karl Joseph
When the 2019 season ended for the Cleveland Browns, it was clear they needed to make some changes at safety. They didn’t even try to re-sign Damarious Randall and Morgan Burnett ended up being released. They also lost Eric Murray as he got a big contract with the Houston Texans.
Clearly, they needed to make a move with Sheldrick Redwine looking to be the sole safety on the team. The Browns ended up making a couple as they signed two free agents in Andrew Sendejo — who was already mentioned — and Karl Joseph.
More from Browns Free Agency
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
- Parris Campbell named as Cleveland Browns wide receiver target
- One and Done: First year Browns players that didn’t earn a second season
- 4 terrible decisions by the Cleveland Browns in 2022
The more impactful signing there is going to be Joseph. He was a former No. 14 overall pick who knows how to deliver some punishing hits. He will bring a toughness to the secondary that they were missing last season after trading away Jabrill Peppers. In addition to that, Joseph is out to prove he’s worthy of his lofty draft status after the Raiders gave up on him.
2. Signed Austin Hooper
The No. 2 overall move is the first one the Browns made this offseason. As soon as the weird legal tampering period opened (just start the league year already) word broke that Austin Hooper was in deep talks with the Browns. Before long, it went from a rumor to Hooper being the highest-paid tight end in the NFL.
His addition is going to be huge for this offense. Last season, they really struggled to get the ball to anyone not named Jarvis Landry or Odell Beckham, Jr. While there were hopes David Njoku could be a good player for them, he dealt with a wrist injury and was then in Freddie Kitchen’s doghouse.
He now will battle for targets with Hooper, who had 787 yards and six touchdowns on 75 receptions last year. Kevin Stefanski will utilize two tight end sets often but the one way that stays effective is when someone like Hooper can threaten as a receiver while also being a solid blocker. He can do that for the Browns and will be a great security blanket for Baker Mayfield.