12 players that Jim Schwartz has coached in the past the Browns could pursue

Oct 27, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz looks on
Oct 27, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz looks on / Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
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Alex Singleton, Browns
Dec 26, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Alex Singleton / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

9. Alex Singleton, Linebacker

Alex Singleton broke onto the scene under Jim Schwartz in 2020 with the Philadelphia Eagles, leading the team in tackles with 120. He followed that up with a 137 tackle season in 2021, leading to the Denver Broncos signing him away on a one-year deal for 2022. After posting a career high 163 tackles with Denver, Singleton is set to hit free agency once again.

Singleton did take a while to break onto an NFL field, so he is already 29 years old with just four years of NFL experience. However, he seems to be in his prime right now, and the Browns could sign him to another short-term deal and have a tackling machine in the middle of their defense next to Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

10. Rodney McLeod, Safety

Many of Jim Schwartz's defenses throughout his time coaching in the NFL have featured a safety that is near or at the top of the team in tackles. In their time in Philadelphia, that was typically Rodney McLeod's running mate, Malcolm Jenkins. However, McLeod (now in Indianapolis) just posted 96 tackles in 2022.

If Schwartz is looking for a cheaper, veteran option to fill that role in his Cleveland defense, he may look to McLeod. John Johnson III has been highly scrutinized by Browns fans since his signing in 2021. I think a lot of that hate is mostly unwarranted, and that he still can be a very solid player for the Browns moving forward, but he does currently come with a cap hit of $13.5 million for 2023.

McLeod's estimated market value is just $1.7 million, so the 32-year old would be a bargain if the Browns are unable to restructure Johnson's contract to lower that cap hit. Cleveland will likely look to add another young safety either way, but adding a veteran like McLeod could help right away in 2023.

11. Kamu Grugier-Hill, Linebacker

Kamu Grugier-Hill seems like the type of player that coaches would love. He played under Schwartz in Philadelphia, but primarily as a special teams player, and then went on to racking up 108 tackles for Houston in 2021 after a short stop in Miami.

The 28-year old, Grugier-Hill, is set to hit free agency, after the Arizona Cardinals claimed him partway through last season following his release from Houston. He did not do much in 2022, but if Schwartz still thinks he can contribute, that lack of production could just make him more affordable for Cleveland.

12. Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback

Former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore, may seem like a far-fetched get for the Browns this offseason, but he did play under Jim Schwartz in Buffalo in 2014. Gilmore has certainly seen better days as a player, so maybe an Indianapolis Colts team that is looking to get younger will want to avoid his nearly $12 million cap hit for 2023.

Gilmore signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Colts last offseason, but they do have an out where they eat just $2 million in dead cap if they decide to release him. I wouldn't necessarily expect them to do so, but you never know.

The Browns apparently already have too many boundary corners and no true slot corner, and Gilmore would likely just add to that conundrum. But if Cleveland is able to bring in someone like Gilmore at corner, they could potentially move one of their younger pieces for help at another position. Gilmore may not be the best option, but he does have the connection with Schwartz and could be a potential option for the Browns if available this offseason.

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