Wide Receiver

Defensive Tackle




What the Browns need and will likely look for at WR:

  • Speed and someone who can stress a defense down the field

  • Browns understand the fools gold at WR during FA and likely will target good value WRs, who are still relatively young (<30 years old)

  • They don’t need WRs who excel in shallow/intermediate level routes as Amari Cooper and hopefully David Bell can handle those duties

  • With Deshaun Watson set to likely take up a significant salary cap share in 2023, a reminder that only two WRs made $10m+ last season with a QB who made $20m+ (Adam Thielen and Curtis Samuel). It is difficult to pair elite, high priced QBs with a WR making a lot of money.

Potential Browns UFA WR Targets:

1.       Mecole Hardman (24)- My top realistic option for the Browns. Fills a deep threat need, is only 24 years old and clearly expendable with the Chiefs cap situation. 2022 was the only season that he suffered injuries so he should not be labeled “injury prone”.

2.       Ashton Dulin (25)- Most will have never heard of or watched Dulin play as he only played a part time role with the Colts. But every time he stepped on the field, Dulin played pretty well. Surprisingly, he finished 45th among all NFL WRs in yards per route run, which is 2nd among all unrestricted free agent WRs available. Dulin came from a small school (Malone College) but produced an excellent 4.43 40 and 8.9 Relative Athletic Score when he came out for the draft. Dulin will likely not cost much at all but brings cheap upside. He also did not drop a pass on 20 targets this past season.

3.       Darius Slayton (25)- After begging the Browns to trade a late round pick during training camp last season for Slayton, he finished 2022 with excellent production for the Giants. Slayton is an excellent deep threat and finished 2022 23rd in yac per reception and 48th in yards per route run for the Giants. He is only lower here because his value likely is at his highest.

4.       Jakobi Meyers (26)- Likely not a realistic option as Meyers will receive significant attention in the FA market. But he is still young and is an all-around solid WR. Lacks deep, big play upside and plays nearly 70% of his snaps in the slot which may depress his market value somewhat. Browns would only be an option at depressed rate which is why he’s down this low on my list.

NOTE: Younger veterans like Allen Lazard and Juju Smith Schuster likely get a larger deal than either is worth and neither fits the Browns need of speed down the field.

DJ Chark is a popular name amongst Browns fans but to me his injury history is too much of a risk for a team like the Browns. Chark has now missed 22 of 50 total games in the last three seasons including six games this past season.

Potential Browns Cap Casualty WR Targets:

1.       Courtland Sutton (27)- There is no guarantee Sutton will actually be traded but the Broncos are going to need to shed some salary in order to field a roster around Russell Wilson. Denver saves $14.4m if he is traded after June 1 and with Jerry Jeudy still on a rookie deal, there is a small chance Sutton is dealt. He fits what the Browns need/want in a younger WR who can get down the field. Not exactly sure on potential compensation for a trade but a 3rd round pick along with a contingent later round pick could be in range.

2.       Devante Parker (29)- Parker is a big body WR who excels in contested catches down the field. 34% of his targets last season came 20+ yards down the field, good for 10th highest rate in the NFL. George Pickens and Jahan Dotson are the only other WRs who saw at least 30% of their targets down the field and also a deep ball PFF grade higher than Parker. He did not drop a ball on 47 targets this season, although drops had been a bit of an issue in the past. He likely won’t be as coveted as some other WRs on this list but is a decent option for what the Browns need down the field.

3.       Brandin Cooks (29)- Cooks is still under 30 years old but definitely not a spring chicken. Houston takes a big dead cap hit if he is released or traded prior to June 1 but they save over $18M after June 1 via trade. He has a prior relationship in Houston with Deshaun Watson which helps the case. He can still get down the field but his past concussion issues would be concerning to the Browns. Compensation would likely be mid round pick at best so that shouldn’t be an issue.

4.       Corey Davis (27)- Davis has been just ok with the Jets but that could be more due to the QB issues with New York. He can still get down the field (14.5 ADOT) and the Jets would save $10m with minimal dead cap hit if released prior to June 1. With potential cap concerns if the Jets go after a big name QB, Davis is a likely cut candidate and would fit nicely as a #3 for the Browns.


What the Browns need and will likely look for at DT:

I discussed the concept here last season 2022 Browns offseason — ClevAnalytics when it comes to evaluating pressure rate metrics that are much more than just pure sacks. Historically, pressure rates are a lot more “sticky” from year to year and are a better predictor of success going forward than sacks. Sacks can be fickle and potentially misleading. Is a handful of “clean up” sacks valuable if it’s just a case of a QB turning away from the real pressure right into a sack? Isn’t it the case that some times, getting into the backfield quickly, forcing a QB to throw the ball away or even into a turnover is potentially more impactful even if it’s not a sack? If we can identify those defensive lineman who did a good job (at or above group average) in pressuring the QB (pressures/pass rush snaps) but did not see an above average rate of conversion into sacks (sacks/pressures) then there is a decent chance we can see some positive sack regression going forward and the potential for an undervalued contract.

In 2021, there were 34 DTs who produced average or above pressure rates, but below average sack to pressure rates. Those DTs, as a group, posted a 9.4% pressure rate, 8.5% sack to pressure rate, 0.8% sack to pass rush rate with 83 sacks in 476 combined games (0.17 sacks per game). The next season, in 2022, this same group of 34 DTs produced an 8.5% pressure rate, 14.9% sack to pressure rate, 1.3% sack to pass rush rate with 125 sacks in 461 games (0.27 sacks per game). We see that the pressures were right in line with the prior season but this group of DTs produced 42 more sacks the next season, 0.10 more sacks per game and almost doubled the rate to which they were able to convert sacks year over year (14.9% in 2022 vs just 8.5% in 2021). This is something I’ve observed over many years, so 2022 was certainly no different.

I used the above methodology to help filter the list of undervalued DTs but certainly wasn’t completely rigid. I did allow for a bit of flexibility but the group of 5 DTs I listed (Tim Settle, Maliek Collins, Nathan Shepherd, DeQuan Jones and D.J. Jones) combined for just 7 sacks in 2021. That same group produced 14 sacks this past season, double that amount in 2021, on virtually the same number of pass rush snaps. All five were better players than what the Browns had at DT last season.

The Browns ended up signing 26 year old Taven Bryan last season as their lone DT FA bet. In 2021, Bryan had a pressure rate above the group average, at 8%, but just slightly missed the cut with a sack to pressure ratio of 14%, barely above the 12.7% average rate. He essentially fit what I was detailing but his PFF pass rush rank (48th), age , pedigree (former 1st round pick) and fabulous combine numbers (9.91 RAS) were all the ingredients for the Browns to take a shot at him. That is essentially the prototype of who they would like to sign. I will say Bryan was a terrible run defender in 2021 (44.4) and posted a poor 58.6 grade last season. I think with how the Browns run defense produced one of the worst run defenses the NFL has seen in a while, there will be more emphasis on finding at least adequate run defenders as well. They just can’t afford to just go after the DTs who can pressure the QB while also completely ignoring the run defense. At the same time, I would be really surprised if they allocated resources to pure run stuffing DTs who can’t also rush the passer. There has to be some level of marriage between the two.

As we saw with the Malik Jackson signing two seasons ago (10.6% pressure rate, 9% sack to pressure conversion), they are ok signing a slightly older veteran (31 yo at the time), as long as they are showing these undervalued pressure traits as well. Andrew Billings was a dirt cheap (1 year, $3.5M) depth piece and a member of Andrew Berry’s first FA class with the Browns. He was only 25 years old at the time and coming off a 6.5% pressure rate season so the Browns have shown that they like all sorts of flavors at DT.

Potential Browns UFA DT Targets:

The Browns are not flush with cap space, even after they likely the restructure of Deshaun Watson’s contract among others, so they will be very careful in allocating those resources. My expectation is that they will go after one or two DTs in FA, with one on the rotational side of things and another as a full fledged starter. However, they will likely go after the mid-tier DT as a starter if I had to guess. That likely pushes out guys expected to receive $10m+ per year contracts like Javon Hargrave, Zach Allen, Dre’mont Jones, Daron Payne and Dalvin Tomlinson. That is why those guys are not listed below.

1.       Sheldon Rankins (29)- Rankins tops my list among the most realistic UFA Defensive Tackles available. He is as close to a “big money” FA at DT I think the Browns will even consider but even then I don’t think he will break the bank. He has the pedigree that Andrew Berry likes, as a former 1st round pick, and outside of an outlier poor 2021 season, has played well throughout his career. He is the only free agent DT with a pressure rate (8.1%) above average as well as PFF run defense and pass rush grades above a 65. He is not great at anything but solid pretty much everywhere. As long as his demands aren’t crazy (PFF projects 2 year- $12M), he would be a nice fit.


2.       Matt Ioannidis (28)- Ioannidis finished 35th among all DTs in PFF pass rush grade last season while he produced a good 9.8% pressure rate. He was also 5th best among DTs in ESPN’s pass rush win rate. Unfortunately, he could only convert those pressures into 1 sack all season (3% conversion rate). He is the only DT among the free agents available who produced a pressure rate above 7% but a sack conversion rate below 5%. This is a guy who has been an excellent interior pass rusher in his career and prior to last season, converted 15.3% of his career pressures into sacks. He has been very consistent in his career, earning a top 35 level PFF pass rush grade in each of the last six seasons. He did battle some injuries last season and is getting closer to 30, so those factors may push Berry to look elsewhere but otherwise is another solid mid tier/bargain DT option.


3.       Nathan Shepherd (30)- Another Jet! Shepherd was on my list last year as well (2022 Browns offseason — ClevAnalytics) and he proved me right in producing a solid season for NY. He produced an above average pressure rate at 8.2% but a modest 11.8% sack conversion rate (2 sacks) last season with the Jets. He is a little older at 30 years old and more of a rotational DT, but his 79.5 pass rush grade is by far the highest in the group and 9th among all NFL DTs last season. He also finished 2nd among all DTs in ESPN’s run stop win rate last year. He is a former 3rd round pick who posted excellent combine metrics coming out (9.2 RAS, 64th percentile SPARQ score). He will be fairly cheap and would fit in nicely as a bargain bin DT. He signed a modest 1 year, $1.1M contract to stay with the Jets last season and if the Browns offer a bit more this offseason, he would be an absolute steal as compared to the 1 year $5M that Taven Bryan got from the club last season.

4.       John Cominsky (28)- Again, similar to Shepherd, Cominsky is more of a rotational DL and is a hybrid DE/DT who can play inside on some “Nascar” obvious passing down situations. I stuck him in this group, although he could easily be classified as an EDGE. He is a great athlete who posted the 5th highest SPARQ score among DL coming out and a 9.4 RAS score. He quietly posted an impressive 12.1% pressure rate last season for the Lions, the highest among UFA DTs and top 40 among all EDGE and DT in the NFL. His 9.1% sack conversion rate is well below the group average so he has the upside to produce much more than his 4 sacks of a year ago. He did have 3 sacks in just 8 games as a starter to end the season, after beginning as a backup. He won’t hurt you in the run game and his 16 stops are a solid figure.


5.       Poona Ford (28)- I am sticking Ford in here even though he struggled a bit last season (56.2 PFF grade). This is mainly because he had four prior excellent seasons, where he posted a PFF grade above 68 in all of them, including two above 79. His 6.9% pressure rate last season was decent but slightly below the DT average. He has been fairly consistently in that 6.5% to 7.5% range for three straight seasons so a team will be getting a pretty average pass rusher from the interior. His 52 PFF run defensive grade was the real disappointment last season. Especially considering that was his calling card throughout his career (career run grades of 90.0, 73.5, 73.0, 68.9). We already know Poona will likely produce average DT pressure, which is perfectly fine, but if he can regain some of his run stuffing production, will be an absolute steal at his projected contract (2 year- $12.5M).


6.       Trysten Hill (25)- Hill would purely be a dirt cheap, backup level DT for the Browns. He has never been a true starting level DT in his short career but as a rotational player could have a lot of upside. His combine numbers (9.5 RAS, 81st percentile SPARQ) were outstanding for a man his size but it has not totally translated on the field yet. He was only in on 121 pass rush snaps last year between Dallas and Arizona, with 9 pressures (7.4% pressure rate) and 1 sack. That is almost identical to his 2021 season in Dallas. He has all the athleticism to produce at a high level in the NFL and at just 25 years old, the Browns could take a flier on him.

Potential Browns Cap Casualty DT Options:

(*Note: this doesn’t mean I definitely think some or all of these guys will get cut or traded, but these are the highest likelihood for that to potentially occur). For the Browns to even consider one of these guys, it would have to come with a contract that is flexible enough to not hurt the roster in coming years.

Deforest Buckner (28)- Buckner is one of the best DT in the NFL and after trading a #1 pick to SF and giving him a big contract, I am dubious that the Colts would let him go. However, the Colts are in a rebuild mode and trading Buckner can save the Colts $19M against the cap this season. A team like the Browns would love to acquire his services, but would they be willing to give up a 2nd(?) round pick and also pay him nearly $20M for each of the next two seasons? I doubt it but if they do decide to spend freely, he is an excellent player.

Shelby Harris (31)- Seattle can save $8.9M on their cap if they cut Harris prior to June 1st. Harris came over from Denver in the Russell Wilson trade, but he is getting longer in the tooth and I can see Seattle letting him go. He has been as consistent a pass rusher from the interior spot, as you will find in recent seasons. He has produced five straight seasons of 8% pressure rates or higher. Last season, however, was the first time in six seasons where he was not able to convert at least 11% of his pressures into sacks (7.1%). Considering he converted 21% of his pressures in 2021 into 7 sacks, it does not surprise me that his sack numbers came crashing back to earth last season.  In 2020, his conversion rate was at a prior career low of 11.1%, so he did bounce back the last time his numbers were lower. There is no reason to think he couldn’t hit the 5-7 sack range this season. He was excellent in stopping the run last year, posting the 5th highest PFF run defensive grade among NFL DTs. He has posted a 76+ run grade in four of his last six seasons, consistently ranking among the top 20 run defenders in the NFL. If teams depress his market value after last season’s slight decline in sack production, he is the exact type of player who would fit the Browns needs at a reasonable price.


I am not going the methodology that I am using in finding undervalued EDGE rushers but for a primer, read the introduction to the DT section above. Last year 2022 Browns offseason — ClevAnalytics, I listed five EDGE rushers that were undervalued. In 2021, that group of EDGE rushers produced 19 sacks on a 12.5% sack to pressure conversion. Those same pass rushers sacked the QB 24 times and converted 18.4% of pressures into sacks. The Browns did not pursue a new EDGE rusher but instead re-upped with Jadeveon Clowney and drafted Alex Wright. The Browns did not have a single EDGE rusher with a PFF pass rush grade above 59 besides Myles Garrett.

If you examine the EDGE rushers acquired via free agency and trade under Andrew Berry, he has looked for pass rushers who have created pressure at a high rate but have not translated as much into sacks. In 2020, he signed veteran Adrian Clayborn, who was coming off a season in Atlanta where he generated an impressive 14.9% pressure rate but only sacked the QB four times (8.3% conversion rate).

In 2021, he signed veteran Jadeveon Clowney, who was coming off season where he did not sack the QB at all, even though he produced essentially a league average 10.5% pressure rate. Clowney obviously brought with him an excellent pedigree as a former #1 pick as well as prior production. Clowney came through with an 11 sack season in 2021 with Cleveland. Berry also signed Takk Mckinley to a 1 year deal. Mckinley was coming off a season where he was cut by Atlanta early and didn’t play much overall. However, Berry was banking on his 2019 season metrics regressing to the positive as he generated a solid 11% pressure rate but only four sacks (12% conversion rate). So he too was a good pressure, but lower than average sack percentage EDGE rusher. And Mckinley also had the former first round pedigree as a high pick by the Falcons.

Last season, Berry acquired Chase Winovich from the Patriots in a trade for LB Mack Wilson. Winovich played sparingly in 2021 but was excellent the season before that one, generating an excellent 13.5% pressure rate, with six sacks (12.7% sack conversion rate). He too fit the mold of a high pressure rate, below average sack rate EDGE rusher. He also posted good combine metrics coming out of Michigan with an 8.6 RAS score.

We can see a pretty clear pattern of the undervalued level of pass rusher the Browns will likely go after. Essentially it’s a double digit pressure player who didn’t necessarily turn those into a high percentage of sacks. The Browns also generally like EDGE rushers with a first round pedigree or at least a pedigree of success in the past. I had also noticed prior to last season that the Browns typically look for EDGE rushers in the draft and via acquisition, who run a fast 10 yard split at the combine. In fact, if you look at the 10 yard splits among Clowney (1.59), Winovich (1.57), Mckinley (1.60) and even a veteran like Clayborn (1.61), you will see that it is a metric the Browns FO favors. The average EDGE rusher produces a 10 yard split right around 1.65, so all of these guys fit the higher percentile of short speed rushers.

Current EDGE Roster Situation:

Myles Garrett is obviously entrenched as the cornerstone of not only the EDGE group but for the entire Browns defense. Outside of Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Chase Winovich are both free agents. Clowney is essentially 100% gone this year and Winovich could be retained for a reasonable cheap price. Due to an early season injury, Winovich was only able to play 178 snaps , with 102 coming in pass rush situations. He generated 11 pressures and only 1 sack. His 10.8% pressure rate is right in line with league average, but his 9.8% sack conversion rate was well below EDGE average of 17%. He was solid as a run defender (69.5 PFF run grade).

All that remains beside Garrett, are two rookies. Alex Wright was pretty awful (3.8% pressure rate and 0 sacks) last season and did not really show much at all. 7th round rookie, Isaiah Thomas, actually showed a few more flashes than Wright (8 pressures on 74 pass rush snaps 10.8% and 1 sack). But neither showed enough for the Browns to possibly rely on for meaningful snaps. Both look like backup/rotation pass rushers but there is no way the Browns will go into 2023 with either as a starter. The lack of talent returning and the fact that pass rusher is the most premium position on defense, leads me to believe that Andrew Berry will invest much more in free agency, a potential trade and/or the draft to find a new starter opposite Garrett. If they retain Winovich, both he and the incumbent rookies can handle rotation duties and Berry will likely try and find a proven pass rusher to start. If they don’t retain Winovich, look for the Browns to also strongly consider signing a bargain bin rotation pass rusher as well.

Potential Browns UFA EDGE Targets:

1.       Samson Ebukam (27)- Ebukam is my #1 target for the Browns at EDGE rusher and literally checks every box that we have seen Berry want in the past. On a good Niners defense, Ebukam started but rotated with fellow free agent Charles Omenihu. He produced a solid 11.9% pressure rate (above EDGE avg of 11%) and that led to six sacks. That 11.6% conversion rate was still well below what the group average has been so we could see some positive regression this year. He has at least five sacks in four straight seasons, and has generated at least a 9.5% pressure rate in each of those seasons. Last season was the first time he produced a sack conversion rate below 20% since 2018. Also, when you look back at when he came out of college, Ebukam destroyed the combine with a 9.8 RAS and 1.53 10 yard split. To put that 10 yard split in perspective, Myles Garrett was a freak with his speed and generated a 1.57 split. Ebukam posted a SPARQ score in the 96th percentile of all EDGE rushers. Ebukam has shown great versatility in his career as well seeing as how he transitioned from an OLB pass rusher in LA to more of a hand in the ground DE with the Niners. PFF has earmarked a 3 year- $10.25M annual contract with $20M guaranteed. That is right at the brink of the amount that I think Berry will go with any FA deal this season so should be in range for consideration for the Browns.


2.       Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (27)- This is back-to-back appearances for Okoronwko on my Browns FA list. Last year I had him on my top 5 list, but he went to the Texans for 1 year and just $3.2M. He’s back after generating another good year, with a 13.4% pressure rate and 5 sacks (13.9% conversion rate). He is also the highest PFF graded pass rusher among FAs, with an 81.9 grade. For some reason, he did not start for the Texans in the first 10 games, and  did not produce a sack in limited pass rush snaps. However, starting in week he became a full-time starter and ended the year with five sacks in his final six games. According to PFF, his 22.9% pass-rush win rate ranked seventh and his 17.5% pressure percentage ranked eighth among edge defenders from week 7 on. He also was solid as a run defender, posting an 11% stop rate (constitutes a failure for the offense), well above the group average of 9.4%. He checks the athleticism box as he posted a good 8.7 RAS and 1.6 10 yard split out of college. He will likely come in a little cheaper than some others since he was not a full time starter last season.


3.       Marcus Davenport (26)- Davenport would normally come in as my #1 EDGE rusher for the Browns but I believe he will get offers that are out of the Browns budget so I dropped him to #3. He too checks everything that Berry wants, including a solid 12.1% pressure rate, a low sack rate (2.9%), first round pedigree and excellent athleticism (9.6 RAS, 1.62 10 yard split). He has posted four straight 73+ PFF pass rush seasons and his nearly 14% career pressure rate ranks top 20 among all EDGE rushers in that span. Injuries are a concern and he has missed 12 games in the last three seasons. That is a risk in giving him big money but most everything else checks the boxes.


4.       John Cominsky (28)- I have Cominsky in my DT list above but am including him in here as well as he is a hybrid DT/DE who can play inside on some “Nascar” obvious passing down situations. He is a great athlete who posted the 5th highest SPARQ score among DL coming out of college with a 9.4 RAS score and a 1.61 10 yard split. He quietly posted an impressive 12.1% pressure rate last season for the Lions, top 40 among all EDGE and DT in the NFL. His 9.1% sack conversion rate is well below the group average so he has the upside to produce much more than his four sacks of a year ago. He did have 3 sacks in just 8 games as a starter to end the season, after beginning as a backup. He won’t hurt you in the run game and his 16 stops are a solid figure.


5.       Tyquan Lewis (27)- Lewis is not a big name but he has enough traits to be considered for a rotation level pass rusher for cheap. His 11% pressure rate is right at the group average, but he could only convert those pressures into 1 sack (5.9%). He does have 12 career sacks and a 9.5% career pressure rate, so he has shown that he can produce in limited spots. His athleticism also fits what the Browns look for with a 9.5 RAS and an impressive 1.57 10 yard split just a few years ago. He would be a Winovich level, rotation EDGE rusher.

Potential Browns Cap Casualty EDGE Options:

I don’t really see the Browns playing in this field much considering the age and recent performances of most on the list.

The one guy who could attract Andrew Berry’s attention, if let go, would be Denico Autry. He had a fantastic 2022 season but after the Titans released multiple high priced veterans recently, it seems unlikely they would cut Autry just to save $7M.

Shaq Barrett will receive a lot of attention league wide but at his age and considering he is coming off a brutal achilles injury, he likely is not in play for the Browns.


The TE free agent class isn’t all that great but there are some guys with appeal for the right price. In recent years, we have seen a trend of former top 3-4 round picks, who underwhelmed with their drafted teams, but on a cheap 2nd contract, was able to post some really solid numbers. It’s been shown year after year that TEs have the longest developmental curves among all position groups. Drafting a TE in the top couple of rounds has not been a positive outcome for the most part, which leads to an undervalued asset on a short term, cheap 2nd contract. Countless recent examples like Evan Engram, Hayden Hurst, Martellus Bennett, Gerald Everett, Jared Cook and Eric Ebron have produced excellent seasons in the year after signing their 2nd deal with a new team. All of those guys were under 28 years old, former top 4 round picks and signed an annual deal <6% of the cap.

Top Value TE Targets (NFL not just Browns):

1. Foster Moreau (26): Wish he was able to do a bit more when Darren Waller went down but he is still relatively young as a 4th round pick in 2019, is a great athlete (9.45 RAS) and finished 8th among TEs last season in yards after the catch. He graded out as the 11th best pass blocking TE last year although his run blocking is graded as one of the worst among TEs. If your goal is to grab a pass catching TE with upside, he’s at the top of the list (for the right price).

2. Jordan Akins (31): Akins is a bargain bin TE option who has proven he can be a good pass catcher with a real QB in place. He has had to deal with Davis Mills, Kyle Allen and Tyrod Taylor the last two seasons but with Deshaun Watson, Akins racked up solid yards per route run seasons (1.18 over three years). Last year with that poo poo QB platter in Houston, he posted solid numbers (37-495-5TD). He was also 2nd among NFL TEs in yards after the catch versus expectations. He is a clear option for Watson and the Browns if they decide that Harrison Bryant isn’t up to snuff.