Across The Browns Podcast Host & NFL Analyst
Andrew Berry and the team around him have done a fantastic job of building around their, now proven, franchise quarterback. They've done an even better job of keeping things "in house.” This isn't like the regimes of the past. No “Pittsburgh Started It” shirts, no ego's, and definitely no rumors coming out of that office. So, evaluating how the Browns will attack 2021 is hard, but not impossible. Here are a few free agents that I think could help the Browns reach the next level.
1. K'Waunn Williams - CB
In his six seasons of NFL play, Williams has been good. Really good. Slot cornerback is one of the most important positions in today’s NFL, but it is one of the most undervalued from a standpoint of GM's acquiring them. Williams has never had a grade lower than 66 (per Pro Football Focus). If you're thinking, “this name sounds familiar,“ it's because in 2014 and 2015, Williams was the nickel cornerback for the Browns, and he was absolutely fantastic in both seasons. At the beginning of the 2016 season, he opted to get a second opinion on his ankle and elected to receive surgery to remove bone spurs.
Williams and the Browns argued about the severity of the injury and ultimately the Browns FO was not happy that he sat out. With an entirely new regime, he may be open to coming back and playing in Cleveland again, but only time will tell.
PFF predicts: Two years, $8 million ($4M APY): $4 million total guaranteed, $3 million fully guaranteed at signing - to be his next contract.
Mike Hilton, Troy Hill and Mackensie Alexander are three other veteran slot corners to keep an eye on.
2. Damiere Byrd - WR
It's no secret that this offense was good in 2020. However, what they lacked was somebody to "take the top off.” While Odell Beckham, Jr. has certainly been able to do that in his career, he rarely gets a true one-on-one matchup. What Byrd brings you is 4.28 speed in the 40-yard dash, a 6.6 three-cone, and experience as a returner (where he averages 9.8 ypr in the punt game).
This is a position that the Browns can attack in the draft if they wish to, but in signing Byrd, you know what you're getting.
There are a few bigger name WR's that could fill this role for the Browns, but they will most likely pull more money than Byrd. Corey Davis, Breshad Perriman and John Ross are a few of those guys.
3. Von Miller - EDGE
While he isn't a free agent just yet, the Bronocs could save 17 million by not picking up his option. This scenario is all based on them doing just that.
This isn't just another "the Browns need to go get the biggest name on the market" year. This is backed by a few facts, and here they are.
- Joe Woods was the Defensive Coordinator when Miller had 24.5 sacks in two seasons.
- Von Miller played "poorly" in 2019 and didn't play at all in 2020 so he will be much more affordable than most think.
- He would get to play with one of, if not THE best, pash rushers in the NFL.
A tandem of Myles Garrett and Von Miller would be the best in the NFL, even if Miller is 80% of what he was before the injury. Pass-rushing is much more predictable than pass coverage. Meaning, you are better off taking a risk on a pass rusher than spending money on a coverage player. The numbers flucuate much less for the pass rushers. If the Browns want to be the real deal, go get your guy.
Predicted market value per Spotrac for Miller is 10.3 million (it won't be that low, but you get the point).
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