Andrew Berry continues to shine as Cleveland Browns general manager

Cleveland Browns offseason. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns offseason. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Andrew Berry continues to make moves that make sense financially for the Cleveland Browns and improve their chances of making a Super Bowl run in 2021.

It has only been two offseasons, but the Cleveland Browns have seemingly found their long-term general manager in Andrew Berry.

In his first two acts as an NFL general manager, Berry has knocked it out of the park in free agency and the draft. He has built a roster that has Browns fans joyfully optimistic about the upcoming 2021 season and beyond.

Last year, Berry focused his attention on bulking up the offensive line to keep quarterback Baker Mayfield protected and to give running lanes to running backs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. This year, Berry turned his attention to the defensive side of the ball.

Entering this offseason, many Browns fans clamored over the EDGE rusher market and wanted Berry to sign any and all to pair up with Myles Garrett. Names like Carl Lawson, Bud Dupree, Trey Hendrickson, and Shaq Barrett were all coming off the board, making the fan base anxious.

Then Berry made arguably the best signing of the offseason in former Rams safety John Johnson III. The three-year, $33.75 million deal gives Cleveland one of the best young safeties in the game. Johnson called this “an opportunity of a lifetime.”

"“I felt like this was an opportunity of a lifetime, coming to a situation that things are moving in the right direction,” Johnson said via Mary Kay Cabot of"

That’s not a statement that Browns fans are accustomed to hearing, especially since the past two decades have been anything but joyous. Johnson turned down more money to sign with the Browns. Let that sink in for a minute.

Berry didn’t miss out on an EDGE rusher, as he signed Takk McKinley to a one-year deal. The Browns tried to claim McKinley off waivers three different times, so this signing made sense from a team perspective. McKinley is only 25 and has a ton of potential, he just has to focus on football, something he acknowledged when talking to the media.

Three days after the Johnson signing, his former LA teammate Troy Hill agreed to a two-year, $9 million deal, reuniting two of the key pieces of the Rams No. 1 ranked pass defense. Johnson is a Youngstown native and this homecoming has a chance to be really special for both parties.

Getting the secondary better was certainly in the cards for Berry and company. Defensive coordinator has to be licking his chops at the possibilities he can implement on his defense.

With Johnson, Woods can use three safeties on the field at the same time, something he really couldn’t do last season as the secondary was depleted due to injuries. Hill provides a good coverage guy in the nickel, something that will surely help the secondary.

The acquisitions didn’t stop for Berry and the Browns. Former Colts middle linebacker Anthony Walker and veteran defensive lineman Malik Jackson (Eagles) both signed one-year deals. Along with the acquisitions, Berry was able to re-sign wide receiver Rashard Higgins and linebacker Malcolm Smith.

The culture in Cleveland continues to evolve and Berry is at the forefront of putting the pieces of this puzzle together. The fact that the Browns were able to get significantly better defensively without spending a bunch of money is remarkable and Berry should get a ton of credit. He didn’t go out and overpay some of the EDGE rushers on the market and he didn’t trade any assets to acquire talent. He had a plan and has executed it to perfection thus far.

Now Berry will get ready for the upcoming NFL Draft, being held in Cleveland this year. He can go a number of different ways with the 26th overall pick and it will be interesting to see.

Browns suddenly a destination team. dark. Next

You don’t win the Super Bowl in March, but what Berry did was put Cleveland in a position to make a run to hoist the Lombardi Trophy next February. What a time to be a fan of the Cleveland Browns.