3 free agents who instantly make the Cleveland Browns contenders

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Jessie Bates III
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Free Agent No. 1 – Jessie Bates, FS

With John Johnson now out of the picture and Ronnie Harrison likely gone as well, one of the biggest holes becomes safety for the Cleveland Browns in 2023. Grant Delpit remains, and while he did show signs of life at the end of 2022, he still has struggled with consistency.

I think a simplified defense from Schwartz will do wonders for Delpit, but pairing him with a stud like Jessie Bates would also do wonders. Bates is currently a part of the Bengals who are an in-state and division rival. There is no doubt that Cincinnati wants to hold on to him, but they have a ton of guys to re-sign in the next two seasons as well. 

Johnson was brought in to be everything that Bates could be. Not only the leader of the defense, but also a great vocal leader in the locker room. Right now, the Browns best players on defense (Ward and Garrett) are both silent leaders. That’s not a negative, but this unit needs someone that shows some emotion and excitement on the field. That is why I was most excited about the hiring of Schwartz because he has a passion that flirts with arrogance at times. 

Bates will be the hottest safety on the market and in recent years the money has gotten closer and closer to what elite cornerbacks are getting. I’m not sure Berry will be willing to spend what it takes to lure a guy like Bates away from Cincinnati, but if they did sign him, this defense would instantly be better. 

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