After moving on from John Johnson III, the Cleveland Browns could make a play for Jessie Bates III in free agency as his replacement
One thing is for sure when it comes to Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry — he's not afraid to get aggressive.
During his first offseason with the Browns, he added Austin Hooper and Jack Conklin in free agency. He followed that up by going After John Johnson III in 2021 and then in 2022, he made a huge trade for Deshaun Watson.
Now heading into 2023, he could have his sights set on another prized free agent — Jessie Bates III.
Cleveland is in need of a new starter at safety following their decision to move on from John Johnson III, which was reported on Tuesday. Not long after, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com said the Browns could use some of the $9.75 million they freed up in that move to lure Bates from Cincinnati.
Should they be able to land Bates, it would be a huge win for the Browns defense. While Johnson came over with an impressive resume, he found himself playing out of position often. More of a strong safety, Johnson excels near the line of scrimmage. However, that's also the case for Grant Delpit and even Ronnie Harrison, who is a free agent.
Johnson was the best option the Browns had to play free safety but his lack of straight-line speed led to some issues. As for Bates, he has the ability to play in the box and is great against the run, but is also very good in deep coverage.
MKC suggests Bates could ask for north of $14 million, which is a huge asking price. However, the Browns have options as Berry pointed out, saying they could look to restructure some of Watson's salary, which is north of $50 million this year.
If this is the way they go, it could have a huge positive effect on this secondary, which is in the need of a shot in the arm.