4 affordable free-agent targets for the Browns this offseason

These 4 free agents would fit well with the Cleveland Browns but also wouldn't break the bank

Browns, Austin Ekeler
Browns, Austin Ekeler / Kevin R. Wexler / USA TODAY NETWORK
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1. Austin Ekeler, Running Back

The running back position has been quite the topic for the Browns this offseason. With Nick Chubb suffering a torn ACL and MCL in Week 2 of the 2023 campaign, Cleveland leaned heavily on Jerome Ford and he struggled to move the ball with consistency. They also had Kareem Hunt but at this point in his career, he was primarily a short-yardage and goal-line back.

Looking ahead to this season, there's a belief Chubb won't be ready by Week 1. If this assumption is true, the Browns need someone they can rely on to carry the load. They would also be smart to make sure there's a talented back who can keep Chubb from being over-worked when he does return — and to be there in case his twice-repaired knee doesn't hold up.

Big names such as Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, and Derrick Henry are all available this offseason but might command too much money to be realistic options for Cleveland. But one player who could be in their price range is Austin Ekeler.

Over the past seven seasons, Ekeler has put up 4,355 yards on the ground and 3,884 yards on 440 receptions for the Los Angeles Chargers. He's had plenty of success but after averaging just 3.5 yards per attempt in 2023, Spotrac.com has Ekeler estimated at $7.4 million per year, which is very affordable considering what he brings to the table.

Ekeler is probably more dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield as he is running it, making him an ideal fit in this offense. Even so, he's still more than capable of running between the tackles and has no issues being in a cmmittee which means Ford will still get his touches early in the season and Chubb will get his when he's 100 percent.

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