2. John Johnson III, Safety
When the Browns were able to sign John Johnson III to a three-year, $33.75 million deal, it felt like a great move. He had just spent four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and topped 100 tackles in two of the past three seasons. He also recorded at least an 81.5 grade according to Pro Football Focus in three of his four seasons — his injury-shortened 2019 campaign was the lone exception.
In his first year with Cleveland, he registered 61 tackles and had three interceptions. However, he saw his grade drop to 68.7. Of course, that’s just a tool and doesn’t always mean a player is good or bad, and in 2021, Johnson was pretty good.
That wasn’t the case in 2022. His grade again fell, this time to 62.8, but it was the effort on the field that really caused criticism to find him. Johnson, who had asked for more commitment from teammates, avoided tackles at times and was often out of place in the back end of the secondary. Even worse, he was quick to push the blame away from himself, which is something a leader isn’t expected to do.
Now heading into the 2023 offseason, there’s a growing belief that Johnson could be on the chopping block. Even if he remains in Cleveland to finish out his contract, his stock has never been lower than it is right now.