The Cleveland Browns made a big splash on the first day of the legal tampering period in the NFL, agreeing to terms with free agent safety John Johnson, formerly of the Los Angeles Rams. According to Mike Garafolo, Johnson agreed to a 3-yeal deal worth $33.75 million, including $24 million guaranteed.
#Browns deal for S John Johnson: Three years, $33.75 million with $24 million guaranteed, source says. Former third-rounder cashes in.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 15, 2021
Johnson was a workhorse for the Rams last season, playing every single snap for the team, which was a great sign after he had an injury-plagued 2019 season. He led the team last season with 105 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, 1 interception, and 8 passes defended. He has elite coverage and tackles well — meaning Cleveland has turned their biggest weakness into one of their greatest strengths on defense.
As Pro Football Focus points out, the Browns’ safeties earned the worst cumulative grade in the NFL last season with a grade of 48.2. Johnson ranked 3rd in the NFL in 2020 with a grade of 85.3.
What does it mean for the Browns at safety? Garafolo says the Browns are “feeling good about a versatile safety group that includes Grant Delpit and Ronnie Harrison.” Another benefit that Johnson provides is that he is a leader and was the playcaller of the Rams’ defense last year:
Additionally, Johnson has been the play caller on the @RamsNFL defense.— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) March 15, 2021
translation= super smart, great leader...exactly what the young and talented Browns secondary needed to add
Bravo to Browns GM Andrew Berry for once again combining a position of need with a top FA https://t.co/icNUR9igdz
How would you grade the Browns’ signing of John Johnson?
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Perfect! Just the type of player we needed!
It’s not bad.