For the Cleveland Browns to improve their performance in 2023, they need to find a free-agent defensive tackle or two to give new DC Jim Schwartz a fighting chance
The Cleveland Browns are aiming to improve their defensive unit for the 2023 season and with the hiring of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, they will likely look to build up their defensive line — and there are several free-agent defensive tackles that would be excellent targets to consider.
While the front office will be limited with the funds this offseason, we should still expect to see them try and come up with some unique ways of spending on new deals.
Here are three players they should target as they search for that improvement along the line.
Cleveland Browns target No.5: Fletcher Cox, DT Philadelphia Eagles
The reason to try and go with Fletcher Cox in free agency is his connection to Jim Schwartz — but it also doesn’t hurt that they might be able to get him on a cheaper deal than most on this list.
Cox earned $14 million this past season but most projections have him making about half of that as the 32-year-old player looks to finish his career. Schwartz was in Philadelphia between 2016-2020 and was one of the reasons the 11-year veteran became a regular Pro Bowler and the Eagles went to the Super Bowl in 2018.
He’s played his entire career in Philly and racked up 65 sacks, 13 fumble returns, including three touchdowns, and 57 quarterback hurries. Is Schwartz coming to Cleveland attractive enough to him to bring him over to the Browns? It could be a difficult sell but it’s not the most unlikely either. Another Eagle, Javon Hargrave will be on the free agent market as well but he’s going to demand in the range of $20 million to sign.
Cleveland, at the moment, is really strapped as far as cap space being in the red because of the current deals the team has on contracts of players like Deshaun Watson and Myles Garrett. If they can come up with some creative ways to manage their funding and even restructure a few current contracts of some of their stars, then maybe the team can go after a few higher-valued defensive tackles we look at next.