Free Agent No. 2 – Jessie Bates, Safety
Another huge question mark for the Cleveland Browns in 2023 will be at safety. I don’t see Ronnie Harrison returning, and there’s an excellent chance that John Johnson III will be a post-June 1 cut after subpar play the last two seasons.
The Browns will likely only replace one of the two with a new defensive system that won’t require three safeties on the field as often, but I’m not sure that Jessie Bates will end up being the guy. If Chark is going to get overpaid at wide receiver, Bates could break the bank as he is far and away the best safety available this offseason.
The first reason I struggle with this, I don’t think Bates wants to leave Cincinnati. He fits perfectly in the system and understands that with Joe Burrow on the roster, you’re always going to be a Super Bowl contender.
Two, I don’t think Berry would justify $12 million plus a year for a safety, nor could the team truly afford it. With major contracts to guys like Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and even Nick Chubb and Jack Conklin, a long-term agreement would be stretching it which Bates could certainly get from someone else.
Because Grant Delpit is the only capable safety on the roster currently, I do think that Berry will add personnel via free agency, but he will be after a guy like Eric Row from Miami or Andrew Wingard from Jacksonville.