Cleveland Browns trade target No. 1: DeForest Buckner, DT
So far in 2023, the biggest move made by general manager Andrew Berry was the free agent signing of Dalvin Tomlinson. In need of help on the defensive line, Berry brought the 6-foot-3, 325-pound Alabama product to Cleveland by way of a four-year, $57 million deal.
Tomlinson wasn't the name many wanted, as Dre'Mont Jones from Ohio State was the fan favorite. But Tomlinson was the right call since they needed a run-stuffer and that's where he shines. He can bring some heat as a pass rusher too but as he proved during his four seasons with the Giants and two with the Vikings, his impact is felt in the run game.
As great as that move was, Cleveland could still look for more help on the interior of their line — especially when it comes to getting after the quarterback. That's why the final player they should call the Colts about is DeForest Buckner.
A standout at Oregon, he was selected seventh overall by the San Francisco 49ers and was traded to Indy ahead of the 2020 season. He then signed a massive four-year, $84 million deal — and has been worth every penny.
In his seven NFL seasons, Buckner has 463 tackles, 53 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and 20 pass defenses. He's also been credited with 140 quarterback hits.
As if that wasn't enough, the 6-foot-7, 295-pounder has also been versatile enough to play on the edge of the line as a defensive end. That's not an ideal spot for him but it's not out of the question for him to fill in should he ever be needed.
Now heading into 2023, Buckner is in the final year of his deal and the Colts can save $19.75 million while taking on no dead money should they find a trade partner.
Cleveland would likely need to extend his contract in order to make him fit under the salary cap, but it would be well worth it. Adding him to a line that already has Tomlinson, Myles Garrett, and another free-agent addition in Ogbo Okoronkwo would give them an elite front four.