Cleveland Browns: The one defensive starter that needs replaced

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

As the offseason continues to move along for the Cleveland Browns, one defensive starter must be replaced in 2023. 

As evidenced by the teams that are left in the playoffs, the Cleveland Browns roster needs to upgrade their depth and talent on both sides of the ball. First, we brought you one player on offense that needs to be replaced, now we give you one player on defense that needs to be replaced.

There are a number of starters on defense to choose from for this exercise. The defensive line, aside from Myles Garrett, needs a complete upgrade in talent. The linebackers were inconsistent and often injured last season. But the one player that needs to be replaced comes from the secondary.

John Johnson III needs to be replaced by the Cleveland Browns

John Johnson, the starting free safety and signal caller for this Browns’ defense has been a major disappointment since he signed with them as a free agent in 2021. He was brought in to help shore up the secondary after playing four solid seasons with the LA Rams.

But his play has been inconsistent and the number of communication lapses that happened in the secondary last season was downright disgraceful. Johnson needs to take the responsibility for that, being the leader and signal caller.

Not only was his play on the field questionable but his actions off the field also need to be addressed. His interview at the end of the season with the media was a joke as he told reporters that he wanted to play for a defensive coordinator that would get his players to play hard, implying that he and others were not playing hard for Joe Woods.

Cleveland gave this guy a very nice contract to come in and play hard for them. Saying that to the media should be all the evidence that GM Andrew Berry and his staff needs to get him off this roster. The Browns would also save over $9 million in cap space if they cut him with a post -June 1st designation.

The Browns not only need better talent in the secondary but also new leadership. I believe it’s time for Denzel Ward to take over as the vocal leader for them as hopefully, Berry can find a quality safety to replace Johnson.

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