Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey created a hole at one of the safety positions when he included starter Jabrill Peppers in the trade for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
It was a relatively small price to pay for someone as talented as Beckham, but the Browns still need to fine someone to line up next to Damarious Randall in the defensive backfield.
Dorsey could turn to Derrick Kindred or T.J. Carrie to fill the hole, a possibility the general manager talked about on Monday, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“(T.J. Carrie has) a flexibility of (making a switch to safety). There’s a couple of other guys on that roster, too, who have flexibility to go from corner to safety as well. I think Derrick Kindred, I really thought ‘17 he played really well as a football player. In ‘18, he didn’t play as good as he played on a ‘17 level, but he played good enough to contribute. And right now I’m excited to see him when he gets back here in OTAs.”
That is not exactly an enthusiastic endorsement of either player, which could lead the Browns to the 2019 NFL Draft for a safety, with Virginia’s Juan Thornhill and Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson as possible options.
There are also two players still available in free agency, both of whom have previous connections with current members of the Browns.
The first is Eric Berry, who spent the past nine seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and overlapped with Dorsey from 2013 through 2016. Berry has only played in a total of three games over the past two seasons, but is still talented enough to be No. 2 free on Pro Football Focus’ list of the top remaining free agents:
Injuries have kept Berry form being the Berry we all know and love for the past two seasons, but he’s too talented when healthy to leave off the top-five section of this list. In 2016, Berry earned an 89.9 overall grade across 1,151 defensive snaps in KC.
The other player is Tre Boston, a five-year veteran who played last season with current Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. Boston checks in at No. 4 on that Pro Football Focus list:
After a breakout contract year for the Chargers in 2017, Boston ended up having to take a prove-it deal with the Cardinals and was yet again solid. He had 10 combined interceptions and pass breakups on 30 targets.
Dorsey referenced both players on Monday and said the Browns have had “discussions” with the agents for both players. While it would seem like an easy decision for the Browns to sign either Berry or Boston, Dorsey cautioned that he is not in a position to simply hand over a blank check:
“I think you’re at a point right now in terms of this free agency period where you have to very selective and you’ve got to make it a club-friendly deal moving forward. By no means do you want to diminish the skill set, you still want good football players. But you also have to be cognizant of ‘20 and ‘21.”
Boston would seem like the safer bet of the two given Berry’s injury history, but if either player wants a deal that is not “club friendly,” it shouldn’t come as a surprise if those discussions don’t move much further for the Browns.