5 bold 2023 offseason predictions for the Cleveland Browns
2. John Johnson III is released
There were several defensive players that failed to live up to expectations in 2022. Outside of Myles Garrett and rookie Martin Emerson, nearly everyone deserved some criticism for their effort and performance.
Having said that, one player that really stood out for the wrong reasons was John Johnson III. A prized free agent signing from 2021, Johnson spent four quality seasons with the Los Angeles Rams before heading to Northeast Ohio.
In his first season with the Browns, he proved to be a solid leader and had 61 tackles, five pass defenses, and three picks. Then in year two with Cleveland, his tackles increased to 101 but his effectiveness was not close to the same.
Johnson was guilty of surrendering long passes more than once but what was even more alarming was how he seemed to point fingers. To his credit, he wasn’t alone as the entire secondary was doing all they could to absolve themselves while allowing others to take the heat, but Johnson also spoke out against the commitment his team was giving.
Normally, this could be seen as leadership. The problem is, Johnson was then guilty of avoiding contact the very next weekend as he didn’t try to tackle Gus Edwards on his way to the end zone in a loss to Baltimore.
Entering 2023, Johnson is due $13.5 million but the Browns could save $9.75 million of that by making him a post-June 1 release. This prediction is that they do exactly this, looking to get younger, cheaper, and faster at safety.