3 AFC North rivals the Browns can sign in free agency

The Browns could strengthen their roster while weakening a rival's

Cleveland Browns, DJ Reader
Cleveland Browns, DJ Reader / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA
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1. D.J. Reader, DT, Cincinnati Bengals

Early on during the tampering period, the Browns were said to have an interest in D.J. Reader. Nothing ever materialized and they've since re-singed Maurice Hurst and Shelby Harris. While those two are more than capable of starting, they were both used in a rotational role in 2023.

Instead of Hurst or Harris, it was Jordan Elliott who started 14 of his 17 games played. He did well enough next to Dalvin Tomlinson to earn a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, making $10 million in total.

That means the Browns would have room for Reader in their rotation even with their re-signings. The problem is that Reader is reportedly heading to Detroit to meet with the Lions. If they let him leave the building, however, that could be enough to lower his asking price into Andrew Berry's range.

Reader is a massive run-stopper at 6-foot-3 and 335 pounds. In 2023, he had 34 tackles and a sack for the Cincinnati Bengals but ended the year with a torn quadriceps tendon. There's no word on whether or not his medical status is holding up any deals but even if he needed time at the beginning of the season to get back to 100 percent, Reader would be worth adding to this defense.

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