5 Early Cleveland Browns 2022 free agent targets
By Randy Gurzi
There’s no reason to wish the 2021 season away but that doesn’t mean we can’t still keep one eye on potential Cleveland Browns free agent targets in 2022
Yes, the 2021 season isn’t even here yet and there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to the Cleveland Browns prospects this year.
However, general manager Andrew Berry has been hard at work making sure that this team stays competitive beyond just this season. His goal has been to build a sustainable winner in Northeast Ohio.
With that being the goal, we look ahead to 2022 free agency and identify five players the Cleveland Browns could target to continue to build up their roster.
5. Leighton Vander Esch, Linebacker
A first-round pick out of Boise State in 2018, Leighton Vander Esch burst onto the scene for the Dallas Cowboys. As a rookie, he had 140 tackles with two interceptions and seven pass defenses.
The Wolf Hunter was just all over the field and silenced a lot of critics who felt his selection at No. 19 was a reach. But then, his doubters were able to come back out over the past two seasons as LVE has struggled with health and consistency.
In 2019, he missed seven games but was still effective with 72 tackles and three pass breakups. But then in 2020, his play declined drastically when he moved to middle linebacker and in 10 games, he had 60 tackles with no pass defenses.
His struggles led to Dallas declining the fifth-year option on his contract, making him a free agent in 2022. With the Cowboys adding Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox in the draft, this could be his final season in Big D.
While it’s true he was taken a bit too high in the draft, the Browns wouldn’t have to worry about that should they add him in free agency. He’s also likely to sign a short-term deal since he’s had so many issues staying on the field. It’s a low-risk high-reward signing at a position that has been a constant need for Cleveland.