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Former Browns linebackers Joe Schobert, Christian Kirksey have new teams

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Schobert heads to Jacksonville, while Kirksey will play for the Packers.

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert were the Browns’ starting linebackers to begin this past season, and each of them have had years in the NFL in which they’ve been near or at the top of the league in tackles. Cleveland’s front office made the decision a few weeks ago that they weren’t going to be retaining either linebacker for 2020 — they cut Kirksey, and weren’t going to meet the dollar amount that Schobert wanted in free agency. Now, both players have new clubs.

Kirksey to the Packers

Let’s start with Kirksey, who was able to sign immediately with the Green Bay Packers on a 2-year deal worth $16 million. It’s a little funny because originally, it was believed that the Packers would be after Schobert. Kirksey couldn’t get as many years on his deal because of his injury history, but it makes sense that former Browns head coach Mike Pettine made the push to bring him to Green Bay.

Schobert to the Jaguars

The player who got the big bucks is Schobert, who will sign a 5-year, $53.75 million deal with $22.5 million guaranteed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. When I did my free agent review for the Browns, I was predicting a 4-year, $45 million deal with $26 million guaranteed. I was close on the per-year money, but my guaranteed prediction was a bit too high.

What the Browns do Next at Linebacker

Cleveland has Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki at linebacker, but they will no doubt be looking to add at least one starting linebacker in free agency or the draft. That doesn’t mean it has to be a top-level player, but it’s a position that will have to be addressed sooner rather than later.