What should the Cleveland Browns do at Safety?

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry responds to questions during Watson's introductory
Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry responds to questions during Watson's introductory / Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

With Free Agency kicking off this week, the Cleveland Browns have a lot of holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball. They already addressed the defensive line with the signings of Dalvin Tomlinson and Obo Okoronkwo. There is still a need at safety as well.

The Browns had their eyes on Jessie Bates, but the price tag was much too high for him. Now the question remains; who in free agency or the draft makes sense for Andrew Berry to bring in?

C.J. Gardner-Johnson - Potential Cleveland Browns Free Agent signing

Probably the most popular name out there, C.J. Gardner-Johnson could bring a lot of versatility to Cleveland's defense. He isn't the perfect fit, but he could fill that centerfield role they need while Grant Delpit plays more near the line of scrimmage.

Gardner Johnson had a 62.2 PFF grade in 2021 and a 63.9 grade in 2022, combining for 9 interceptions in those two years. He is a guy that can play risky at times, but there is no doubt that he can force game-changing turnovers. His projected contract would have him earn roughly $13.3 million a year, but Andrew Berry could get him for a bit cheaper under the right circumstances.

Juan Thornhill - Potential Cleveland Browns Free Agent signing

If Cleveland wants to go a slightly cheaper route but still get value, Juan Thornhill would be a good option. The former second round pick has spent the last few years in Kansas City, and he has enjoyed some productive seasons there. He isn't as talented or as much of a ball hawk as Gardner-Johnson, but he would still improve the secondary for a Jim Schwartz defense.

Thornhill had a 70.2 PFF grade in 2021 and a 67.1 grade in 2022, combining for 4 interceptions in those two seasons. He is a great tackler that rarely misses tackles, which would be refreshing for Browns fans. His projected contract would pay him between $5-7 million a year, which would leave more money left over to sign other players.

Jammie Robinson - 2nd-3rd round draft pick

The least likely option would be to pass on spending big money on a free agent and draft Jammie Robinson out of Florida State. Cleveland's front office met with him at the combine and they seem to like his potential. He likely wouldn't be a day-one starter, so they would have to bring in a very cheap veteran either way.

Robinson has a lot of upside as a prospect. He plays with a sense of urgency and is very versatile. He had a solid combine, running a 4.59 40-yard dash and 33.5 vertical jump.

He still needs a lot of work to be a starter in the NFL, but he should be there at pick 42 for the Browns. They could even trade back and still get him most likely. His overall college grade at PFF is 80.1 and he finished with 7 interceptions in four years.

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