Will John Johnson be with the Cleveland Browns in 2023?
By Jacob Roach
The Cleveland Browns defense has been a disappointment this season and John Johnson III has not lived up to his contract. With that being the case, it’s fair to ask if he will return in 2023.
When the Cleveland Browns signed safety John Johnson III ahead of the 2021 season, they thought they had found a game-changer on defense. Johnson was coming off of being the signal caller and leader of the Los Angeles Rams defense was one of the league’s best in 2020.
However, since he has been in Cleveland it has been inconsistent play including some questioning his effort this season.
General manager Andrew Berry has already moved on from one big contract he gave out after cutting underperforming tight end Austin Hooper this past offseason. Since the deal was for four years the question most will ask is what is the cost of cutting Johnson? Let’s look at the structure of his remaining years and guaranteed money.
Can the Browns financially afford to move on from Johnson?
According to Over the Cap, if the Browns were to cut Johnson with a post-June 1 designation like they did Hooper, he would count $3.75 million against the cap while creating $9.75 million in cap space. We continue to see Berry create outs in these big contracts he signs in case they don’t work out and the team needs to move on.
There is still a chance that Johnson comes back but right now based on comments in the media that indicate he isn’t happy with his role or the team’s defense it doesn’t seem likely. Though it is also likely the Browns move on from coordinator Joe Woods there isn’t any reason to believe that will solve Johnson’s struggles and attitude and this will likely be his last year in Cleveland.