3 pending free agents Browns should retain and 2 they should not

The Cleveland Browns look to build on their impressive 11-6 record from last season. Find out which players they should re-sign and which ones they should let walk.

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
5 of 5

Browns should retain: Maurice Hurst or Shelby Harris, DT

There really could be two players here as the Browns had two defensive tackles step up next to Dalvin Tomlinson this year — and each were playing on one-year deals. Maurice Hurst was the first player signed and he was a bit of a risky pick-up. Hurst missed the entire 2022 campaign and had issues in each season before that.

Cleveland wound up getting 13 games out of him and he was one of the best defensive tackles in the entire NFL. Unfortunately, he was one of many players to end the season on the IR but he had 22 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one of the most impressive interceptions of the entire season.

The other free agent addition was Shelby Harris, who started seven games while playing in all 17. Harris even took on more when Hurst went down and he stepped up his game in a major way.

Harris finished with 28 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and batted down five passes at the line of scrimmage. For good measure, he even blocked a 31-yard field goal in their win over the New York Jets.

Typically in this situation, the younger player would be the ideal signing — which would be Hurst. He was also the better player according to PFF. However Harris, who will be 33, has been far more durable. He also showed no sign of slowing down.

Cleveland has Tomlinson locked up for two more years but they have to bring one of these guys back to play alomgside him. It would be great for both to return but at least one has to be under contract when Week 1 rolls around.

More Browns coverage