NFL free agency is still weeks away from kicking off but that hasn’t stopped us from trying to get you ready for it in any way that we can. Almost universally agreed upon, the Cleveland Browns biggest need this offseason is on the defensive line. Defensive tackle, specifically, was an area that was taken advantage of all of last season.
The hope is that new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will be able to scheme things up better to help the defense as a whole but he will need some additional players to help him do so.
Thankfully, it looks like the free agent class of defensive linemen is set up quite nicely to fill depth needs for the Browns. While there may not be a ton of high-end starters, and Cleveland might not be spending at that level anyway, there are a lot of players that could quickly raise the floor of the team’s talent base.
A quick look at defensive ends gives us players who will sign for less than $10 million but have been productive such as:
- Lorenzo Carter
- Kyle Van Noy
- Anthony Nelson
- Jihad Ward
- Arden Key
Where it gets really interesting is on the inside, the Browns biggest need with even more names on that list:
- Jarran Reed
- Greg Gaines
- Isaiah Buggs
- Fletcher Cox
- David Onyemata
- Larry Ogunjobi
- Poona Ford
- Matt Ioannidis
- Sheldon Rankins
- Akiem Hicks
- A’Shawn Robinson
Those are just a few of the names at those two vital positions. While only a few of them will jump off the page as well-known names, adding one or two would quickly elevate the floor level of the talent on the team. I discussed this with Browns Wire’s Jacob Roach in this video podcast:
Adding depth pieces that could start or play in a rotation could open up GM Andrew Berry’s options in the NFL draft. Using free agency to plug holes allows a team to focus on drafting the most talented players possible instead of forcing a need.
Thankfully, the draft also seems to have depth on the interior of the line that could benefit Cleveland as well.