3 Affordable defensive ends Cleveland Browns can target in free agency

Cowboys, Dante Fowler Jr. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cowboys, Dante Fowler Jr. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /
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Bucs, Anthony Nelson. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

2. Anthony Nelson

In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added Iowa defensive end Anthony Nelson in the fourth round. A promising player with plenty of size (listed at 6-foot-7 and 271 pounds), Nelson was really quiet throughout his first two seasons in the league.

In 27 games, he had just 26 tackles and one sack. Then in 2021, he started to get more involved as he had 22 tackles and five sacks. He followed that up with his best season as a pro, recording 46 tackles and 5.5 sacks for the Bucs.

While he did play in 57 percent of the snaps this past season, Tampa Bay might not be able to bring him back. Right now, they’re in a very tight cap situation and will have to make some tough cuts just to get under the limit. That means someone such as the Cleveland Browns can come in and try to lure Nelson away.

Nelson would likely get a decent contract but he’s not going to be breaking the bank. Still, he’s someone that can serve as a capable starter until the coaching staff feels comfortable starting either Alex Wright or a rookie they select in the upcoming draft.

Decent against both the run and the pass, Nelson would be an under-the-radar signing but could pay off.