3 Cleveland Browns who didn't live up to their contracts in 2023

Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
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2. Juan Thornhill, Safety

In 2021, the Browns signed John Johnson III in free agency to a three-year, $33.75 million deal. At the time, it was called a brilliant move and a steal by general manager Andrew Berry. To be fair, it seemed as though it was.

Johnson filled a void at safety and had been playing at a high level for the Los Angeles Rams. While he put up impressive numbers with the Browns, he had several issues in coverage and took heat for calling out teammates' lack of effort before avoiding contact in a loss to Baltimore the next week.

He was released ahead of the 2023 season and Cleveland replaced him with Juan Thornhill. Fresh off a Super Bowl win with the Kansas City Chiefs, Thornhill agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal. He was also considered a steal and became a fan favorite in a hurry due to his positive approach — and constant social media interaction.

During the season, however, things changed. Thornhill had an up-and-down campaign with PFF dropping him from the 20th-ranked safety in the league to No. 51. He also missed six games due to injuries. That led to fans turning on him, even saying he was struggling due to social media — something that bothered him enough that he had to let fans know via Twitter.

There's no reason to be too concerned at this point but Thornhill needs to play better in 2023. Especially with Ronnie Hickman and D'Anthony Bell making their presence known when they were on the field.