Cleveland Browns trade No. 1: John Johnson to the Philadelphia Eagles
John Johnson’s time in Cleveland has been rough, to say the least. He was supposed to be the splash free agency addition back in 2021 as I and many others wrote about back during that offseason. He was coming over from the Los Angeles Rams organization and after the Browns had made it to the playoffs the previous season, many thought this move would help solidify their secondary.
That wasn’t the case, even from game one of that 2021 campaign. As you may recall the Browns opened the season against the Kansas City Chiefs out at rambunctious Arrowhead Stadium. Cleveland built a lead in that game and looked to be in control.
However, the Chiefs like they often do, made a great comeback. Part of that comeback was made possible when Johnson was out of position to defend Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs got right back into the game with the explosive touchdown.
Similar plays have occurred for Johnson as well throughout his time in Cleveland. This past season in Week 2 when it looked like the Browns were coasting for the win against the New Jets, Johnson again was out of position and cost the Browns a touchdown — and eventually the win.
Despite these glaring mistakes, the veteran safety has had a hard time taking accountability for his actions and has tried to deflect the problems with his play on the miscommunications by the other players and the coaching decisions.
Johnson is due a base salary of $8.75 million this season. However, if the Browns were to trade Johnson as a post-June 1 designation, then they’d only take a $3.75 million hit in dead cap money and gain $9.75 in cap space.
The Eagles are one of the best teams in the NFL right now and despite not having many weaknesses they could look to add a few players in their secondary. One of their current safeties is Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and he could look to move elsewhere in free agency this offseason. Moving Johnson over to Philly could be an attractive proposition for the Eagles.
Cleveland could then look to the free agency market for a few mid-level guys or pick up a rookie or two in the upcoming draft.
While a move on Garrett and Wills could happen, those chances are minimal at this point — but the JJ3 trade surely seems likely. Whatever they decide, the Browns need to create some opportunities to improve the roster and might have to think outside the box.