Player No. 1 – Daron Payne, DT
One area where the Cleveland Browns desperately need to upgrade is at defensive tackle. For the last three seasons, I have been begging and pleading for Berry to make a high-profile move, but it’s yet to happen.
All the poor play has made fans even more desperate for a big move and has put Daron Payne on their wish list. Payne is likely the biggest defensive line free agent in 2023 because of the weakness at defensive end.
Again, I have zero issues with Payne, but I do struggle with how much money it would take to get him, and think there is a chance for some production drop-off. The Commander's defensive line is stacked, and even though Payne had 11.5 sacks last year, he only had 14.5 additional sacks in the previous three seasons with the team.
I’m not saying Payne isn’t an extremely improved player, but a salary of $20 million per year at that position is unheard of. Remember, the Browns already have Denzel Ward, Myles Garrett, Deshaun Watson, David Njoku, and Nick Chubb earning big dollars in 2023.
As much as I want the Browns to improve the position, spending this much money on one player would be a mistake. While the edge rusher market is weak in 2023, there are several defensive tackles who could make a huge difference on the Browns roster. The fact that Berry could fill a huge void with $7 million instead of $20 million, it’s an easy pass on Payne.