The Cleveland Browns may not have a ton of cap space to sign free agents but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try. One way to try to bring a different culture to the team is by signing players from teams who are doing well. There are just four teams left in the playoffs so starting with those four might be a good place to start.
The San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles matchup in the NFC Championship game. Two teams that have built their rosters through the draft and strategic use of free agency and trades. Earlier this week, we signed Fletcher Cox away from the Eagles as a part of our Browns roster overhaul and mock draft.
For today’s exercise, we are going to pick a different Philadelphia free agent even if it is unrealistic. The 49ers, on the other hand, give us a more limited group of potential free agents to choose from, mostly aging veterans.
Interestingly, we end up with a free agent at the same position for both teams.
San Francisco Signing
The list for the Niners is interesting with Jimmy Garoppolo perhaps the biggest name and a couple of offensive linemen likely to get the biggest contracts among the bunch. That led us to choose between two safeties over the age of 30 who, perhaps, are willing to take a little extra to come (or comeback) to Cleveland.
Browns sign S Tashaun Gipson - This is a little nostalgia, a little cap friendly and a little focused on the field. Jimmie Ward is the other safety option but he played in just 47.6% of snaps this year while Gipson is credited with 96.7%. The former Browns defensive back has bounced around the league a little bit but continues to show he knows what he is doing with five interceptions this year.
The Eagles list is much more interesting than the Niners with young players and veterans all over the list that could interest many teams this offseason. Both offensive and defensive linemen will get a lot of attention but the one player Philadelphia is likely to hold on to, after trading for him, is the one player we’d love to see Cleveland sign away.
Browns sign S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Jr. - First, we know how much the organization loves players that are juniors, seconds or thirds of their name but CGJ is a great, versatile piece that any defense would love to have. Pairing him with Grant Delpit, and assuming John Johnson III is released to open cap space for this signing, would give Cleveland a lot of options in the secondary.