Cleveland Browns: Grading the first two days of 2023 free agency
Although the Cleveland Browns haven’t officially signed anyone yet, the legal tampering period is in full force and a lot of the top free agents have already agreed to terms. Remember, although it's rare, nothing is official until Wednesday at 4 PM EST. It doesn’t happen often, but we have seen multiple situations in the past where guys have changed their minds.
Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry has been somewhat quiet, but his moves have been highly calculated and the value has been substantial. The Browns have only made four moves, but there are likely more to come as the market settles.
Even though there hasn’t been a ton of activity, let’s great the moves thus far.
Cleveland Browns Signing No. 3: Retaining Ethan Pocic and Sione Takitaki
Two moves by Berry were retaining guys on the roster. Both Sione Takitaki and Ethan Pocic signed deals to return to the Cleveland Browns after both had successful 2022 campaigns.
Takitaki really came on strong to end the 2022 season, but unfortunately tore his ACL. After spending his first four years in the NFL with the Browns, Berry is giving him another shot with a one-year deal worth $2.5 million.
This is a low-risk deal with the potential for a high reward. If Takitaki can get healthy and perform as he did last season, this was an absolute steal. In the worst-case scenario where Takitaki loses a step and doesn’t play as well, it’s next to nothing against the cap and the Browns can move on in 2024 or even mid-season.
This was a homerun by Berry.
I’m not as high on the three-year, $18 million deal to Pocic, but it does show me they don’t quite trust Nick Harris. This offensive line has a ton of money tied up right now, so they better be excellent in 2023. Pocic is a strong run defender but is an undersized lineman and can get bullied in pass protection.
Locking in Pocic gives the Browns flexibility moving forward which is crucial. If Wyatt Teller has another down year, they can look to move that contract and slide Harris in at guard. I do like Pocic for depth, but I am afraid this line will underperform for how much money is tied up in it.