No. 2: Fletcher Cox, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
I wrote recently about Fletcher Cox being an available free-agent defensive tackle that could certainly help a Browns team that’s in search of a few good players to help stuff the run. Without building up the defensive line, Cleveland will continue to struggle as a whole team.
Cox has been in the NFL for a while, and though his age could be some concern to the analytic guys in the Browns organization, bringing a two-time Super Bowl player in makes a lot of sense.
Also, Cox learned from his former defensive lines coach Jim Schwartz when the two were in Philly together in 2017 and 2018. Schwartz is now the Browns’ defensive coordinator, and a reunion of the player and coach would be a good move.
In 2022, Cox recorded 43 tackles and had seven sacks. He also forced a fumble and recovered one as well. In the Super Bowl, he only recorded one tackle as the Chiefs’ offensive line did a good job of protecting their quarterback. The former first-round pick of the 2012 NFL Draft has a lifetime 6-5 record in the postseason and that type of experience can go a long way when wanting to build a winning program.
No. 1: C.J Gardner-Johnson, S, Philadelphia Eagles
A former fourth-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints back in 2019, C.J. Gardner-Johnson has made a name for himself and will be a well-sought-after free agent this offseason. He tallied an impressive six interceptions this past year, along with having eight pass deflections, 67 tackles, five tackles for losses, and one sack after being traded to the Eagles this past offseason.
As we mentioned earlier, Cleveland needs some help with their secondary and with John Johnson and Ronnie Harrison likely both on the move, they need some good replacements to play on the backside of the defense. Cleveland has Grant Delpit in the strong safety position and Gardner-Johnson would seem like a good addition to play alongside Delpit.
It’s expected that Gardner-Johnson will be earning a huge paycheck when he strikes his next contract, north of $12-13 million per season, but if the Browns part ways with Johnson and can restructure the contracts of a few key members of the Orange and Brown then maybe they could be in the hunt for a player that makes a difference.