12 players that Jim Schwartz has coached in the past the Browns could pursue
5. David Long, Linebacker
In addition to defensive line, The Cleveland Browns may also be in search of depth at the linebacker position. There are a few options out there with Jim Schwartz connections, but David Long may be the most intriguing to me.
Just 26 years old, Long had a career high 86 tackles with Schwartz's help in Tennessee last season. Hitting free agency after four years with the Titans, the former sixth-round pick may re-sign with the team that took a chance on him. There is a good shot that the team views him as a good young player to build around, but Tennessee does appear to be in a bit of a rebuild, so there is also a chance that they decide to move on.
In addition to his career high in tackles, Long also posted seven tackles for loss and three QB hits, proving his versatility around the line of scrimmage. With Schwartz as the official defensive coordinator instead of just an assistant, he could continue to unlock the potential of long in this new Browns defense.
6. Teair Tart, Defensive Tackle
Teair Tart is another young and upcoming player that worked under Schwartz the last two seasons. As a restricted free agent, it would be difficult to sign Tart away from the Titans if they want to keep him, but again, they are rebuilding and may not want to spend the money to match a larger contract if someone offers him one.
If Schwartz thinks Tart could be the centerpiece to his defensive line in Cleveland, he may convince Berry to make him an offer that Tennessee refuses to match. Tart will be just 26 years old when the season begins, and really came into his own last year, playing in 16 games and racking up 35 tackles, 5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks in 2022. He has the size and athleticism to fill multiple roles in Schwartz's defense and could be a nice, young piece for the Browns.
7. Zach Cunningham, Linebacker
As part of their cap-cutting already this offseason. The Titans released veteran linebacker, Zach Cunningham. After being claimed off waivers by Tennessee following his release from the Houston Texans, Cunningham played just 10 games for the Titans in the last two seasons under Schwartz.
Cunningham led the NFL in tackles (164) in 2020, so we aren't far removed from seeing him play at a high level. Maybe Schwartz saw some promise left in him and may want to bring him in and give him another try. I would rather the Browns bring back Reggie Ragland, Anthony Walker or Deion Jones if they want a more veteran MIKE linebacker, but Cunningham is not out of the question.
8. Denico Autry, Defensive Lineman
Yet another veteran option for what should be a new-look Browns defensive line could potentially be 32-year old Denico Autry. Autry is still under contract with the Titans, but he does carry a $9 million cap hit for a team heading towards a rebuild, so they may be open to moving on.
Whether they eventually decide to release him as well or possibly try to trade him, it wouldn't surprise me if they do decide to move in a different direction. Autry combined for 17 sacks in his two seasons with Schwartz's assistance, after stops with the Colts and the Raiders to begin his NFL career.
Autry can play defensive end on early downs and bump inside for pass rush situations, at 6-foot-5 and 285 lbs. He can offer the knowledge and leadership of a veteran, but still produce at a high level. He may cost the Browns something via trade or a chunk of change if they sign him, but he could perform very well under Schwartz.