Free Agent No. 1 – Yannick Ngakoue, DE
I personally feel defensive tackle is the biggest hole on the roster right now, but with Jadeveon Clowney likely on his way out, defensive end is right there. Unfortunately, the free agency class isn’t very strong at the position, and it’s also highly desired.
Even though the law of supply and demand will be against the Cleveland Browns, I still think they’ll have a huge interest in Yannick Ngakoue to pair with Myles Garrett. This is the one position where you could see Berry willing to spend $10 million plus per year to lock up the pass rush on this defense.
Ngakoue has bounced around the league the last three seasons, but he has had 19.5 sacks the previous two seasons with the Raiders and Colts and has become a much better run defender.
At 246 pounds, Ngakoue is definitely undersized, but in the last two years, you’ve really seen him play with an edge and toughness that makes up for it. He once was a pass-rushing specialist, but now has become a guy who can be on the field for every snap.
The former third-round pick from 2016 is still young and still in his prime. That means he will come at a cost, but with more consistency as of late Berry should feel assured, he’s getting a great player in return.
Let’s hope Berry opens up the checkbook for Ngakoue, and if it does come down to a tie, knowing you’ll be paired opposite of Garrett should be a determining factor. He could get twice as many one on ones in 2023 with Browns as he did in 2022 where he was the main edge rusher.