2 Free Agents The Cleveland Browns Should Still Try To Sign

Browns
NFL Analysis Network

The Cleveland Browns were not very aggressive this offseason when it came to pursuing free agents from other teams. They signed a handful of players, but offensive guard Ethan Pocic is the only player that was signed away from another team that played more than 50 percent of snaps last season.

Instead, the Browns focused on adding some depth pieces off of other teams’ rosters and retaining some of their free agents. David Njoku received the franchise tag, while Blake Hance and Anthony Walker Jr. were both re-signed as well.

The biggest moves that Cleveland made came via trade. The Browns upgraded at wide receiver, acquiring Amari Cooper from the Dallas Cowboys. Cleveland took advantage of a salary crunch in Dallas, as Cooper was a cap casualty. But, instead of fighting against other teams in free agency over him, they traded a fifth-round pick and swapped sixth-round picks to ensure they were able to land him.

The second trade that the Browns made was acquiring Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans. Watson still has some legal issues to sort out, but when he is on the field, he is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

Upgrading on Baker Mayfield could push the Browns into being contenders in 2022 as they had hoped they would be this past season. But, there are still some upgrades on the roster that the team should look into making.

Now with only seven picks in the 2022 NFL Draft and without a first-round pick, the Browns can look to free agency for some value signings to fill needs on the roster. Here are two players that the Browns should still be looking to sign.

Jason Pierre-Paul

Ideally, the Browns would like to re-sign Jadevon Clowney. He did an excellent job as the bookend to Myles Garrett, totaling nine sacks. That was the most Clowney has had in a season since 2018, his last with the Houston Texans.

Arguably the most impressive part of Clowney’s game is his ability to also play against the run. He is a true three-down EDGE defender, which isn’t easy to find. But, if the team is unable to retain him, they will have to look elsewhere.

A solid replacement for Clowney would be Jason Pierre-Paul. While he is outside of his prime, Pierre-Paul is still a solid EDGE defender. It would be unrealistic to expect Pierre-Paul to play at least 1,000 snaps again, but he has proven he can still provide some production.

Injuries are a major concern, but at this stage in free agency, Pierre-Paul presents arguably the best option on the EDGE. He gets the job done in the run game with his length and has a three-down skill set.

How many downs he can play, however, is the question. He may not be on the field as often as Clowney, but he can offer a similar skillset and take advantage of playing opposite of Garrett.

Will Fuller V

Adding Cooper was a big acquisition for the Browns. Their offense is lacking wide receiver options after cutting Odell Beckham Jr. last season and releasing Jarvis Landry earlier this offseason.

Right now, Donovan Peoples-Jones could be starting opposite Cooper. Plenty of mock drafts had the Browns going with a wide receiver in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but that pick was sent to the Texans as part of the package for Watson.

The only addition the team has made other than Cooper thus far is Jakeem Grant, but they also lost Rashad Higgins to the Carolina Panthers. In need of at least one more veteran, the Browns should target a familiar face for Watson in Will Fuller V.

Fuller has legitimate injury concerns, as he played in only two games with the Miami Dolphins last season. In his rookie season, he missed only two games, but he has missed at least five in every subsequent season, failing to appear in double-digit games twice.

But, when healthy, he brings a lot to the table that the Browns could use. His familiarity with Watson is something he would also benefit from as they played together for four seasons with the Texans.

Fuller is an elite deep threat but signing him comes with obvious risk. He has huge boom potential, but could just as easily bust. He has legitimate game-changing skills and wouldn’t break the bank to sign.