3 surprise Browns that could be dealt at the NFL Trade Deadline

Browns, NFL Trade Deadline, Anthony Schwartz. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Browns, NFL Trade Deadline, Anthony Schwartz. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Browns, NFL Trade Deadline
Browns, John Johnson. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

2. John Johnson III, Safety

Leading up to Week 7, John Johnson III wasn’t shy about letting his feelings on the season known. The starting safety said he wanted to see more commitment from his teammates, going as far as to say they can’t just “run out of the building” after practice.

He added that the leaders on the team needed to find a way to bring some much-needed change. The words were great but then the execution in the following game left a lot to be desired.

Johnson has struggled in coverage all season but then against the Ravens, he stood out for a perceived lack of effort — especially on a touchdown run from Gus Edwards. Not only did he decline to make a play on the ball carrier, but he also got in the way of Jacob Phillips, effectively becoming a blocker for Baltimore.

Johnson’s play has declined in the past two seasons since coming over from the Los Angeles Rams and what once looked like a prized free agent signing now appears to be another veteran addition that doesn’t fit in.

Cleveland had to admit as much with Austin Hooper and now they might need to do the same with Johnson. Rather than taking a $13.5 million hit on the cap to have a player avoid tackles, the Browns might get what they can in order to free up space in 2023.

The only concern would be that there aren’t many options to start in place of Johnson with only D’Anthony Bell and Ronnie Harrison available — and no safeties being on the practice squad. Still, it’s not as if the defense can get much worse. Or can it?