4 Cleveland Browns playing their way off the roster in 2023

Cleveland Browns, Jacoby Brissett. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns, Jacoby Brissett. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns, John Johnson III
Cleveland Browns, John Johnson III. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

2. Cleveland Browns S John Johnson III

Although he played much better in the Week 15 win over the Baltimore Ravens, safety John Johnson III has had arguably the worst season of his career thus far.

A former starter for the Los Angeles Rams, Johnson signed a three-year, $33.75 million deal with Cleveland in 2021. In that contract, he was given $24 million guaranteed and there were those who thought this was highway robbery for Andrew Berry.

Johnson played well in 2021, but he still saw a decline in his PFF grade. He was the No. 3 safety in the NFL according to the analytical site in 2020 but fell to 34th in his first season with the Browns. Still, he was a starting-caliber player and had 61 tackles and three picks. This year, he’s fallen even further as PFF has him 51st at the position.

While PFF isn’t the primary resource for judging a player, it’s a useful tool and it backs up what’s been seen on film. Johnson has struggled in deep coverage this year and has continued to struggle with missed tackles — although, he was actually worse in the category in 2021.

Cleveland has had a lot of issues with safeties as of late and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them completely change course in 2023. Ronnie Harrison is a free agent and Johnson could be designated a post-June 1 cut, which would save them roughly $9.75 million.