5 role players Cleveland Browns should consider extending
2. S Ronnie Harrison Jr.
Acquired for just a fifth-round pick, Ronnie Harrison was one of Cleveland’s best defensive players in 2020, and easily its second-best secondary member. This season, he should start out as a starter, but depending on how quickly Grant Delpit comes along, could end up as the third safety.
That’s his long-term role here, provided he’s given a new deal by the team. He may end up playing himself out of the contract range that the Browns are willing to pay him, but the third safety is essentially a starter in Joe Woods’ scheme. Harrison is not a star right now, but he’s a really good young player who should only get better.
A $7 million per year evaluation doesn’t seem terribly unrealistic, but that’s quite a bit of money to pay a third safety, especially with Myles Garrett’s deal skyrocketing to above $30 million in 2023, and extensions for Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, potentially Nick Chubb, and others on the horizon.
There are simple ways to create that cash, and having as many good defensive backs as possible is absolutely vital to success in today’s game. Harrison is an ascending player at a valuable position, and the team should do what it takes to keep him around.