No. 2: Big free agent contracts
When Andrew Berry took over as the Cleveland Browns general manager, he made a lot of headlines. He was aggressive in free agency as he signed tight end Austin Hooper to a four-year deal worth $44 million and right tackle Jack Conklin to a three-year deal worth $42 million.
The Conklin signing worked out and he even recently agreed to an extension. However, the move for Hooper was a major disappointment.
Following a 75-reception season that saw Hooper gain 787 yards and score seven touchdowns with Atlanta, he was supposed to become a security blanket for Baker Mayfield. That wasn't the case as he had just 46 receptions on 70 targets in 2020 and then 38 catches on 61 targets in 2021.
Hooper finished with just 780 yards with seven touchdowns in two years while averaging a lowly 9.3 yards per catch. He was then released ahead of the 2022 season and signed with Tennessee.
As frustrating as that move was, it happened again in 2021. Looking for a new safety, Berry agreed to terms on a three-year, $33.75 million deal with John Johnson III. He too was coming off a huge season, recording more than 100 tackles for the second time in four years for the Rams.
In Cleveland, his numbers looked fine as JJ3 had 101 tackles in 2022 and 162 overall in two years but that doesn't tell the whole story.
Johnson was guilty of surrendering several huge gains when playing deep coverage. He also called out the commitment of his teammates, only to avoid contact that very weekend.
Like Hooper, Johnson was released after just two seasons as Berry swung and missed on two high-priced free agents in his first two years on the job.