The day has finally arrived, sort of, in the NFL.
The start of 2023 NFL free agency officially doesn’t begin until Wednesday but teams are allowed to “legally tamper” with players starting Monday at noon. If we are being honest, free agency started at the NFL combine but we are not supposed to know about it.
For the Cleveland Browns, free agency doesn’t start until GM Andrew Berry restructures some contracts. He doesn’t have to do that until Wednesday but could pull the trigger on those moves at any time.
Sunday, the Washington Commanders signing of Daron Payne could have made a big impact on the defensive tackle market. His four-year, $90 million deal could push the price up for Javon Hargrave, Dre’Mont Jones and a few other free agents at the position.
For our final Browns mock offseason, we won’t add a mock draft as it doesn’t fit with the day. Instead, a look at what the next few days could look like based on sources, information, guessing and what I would like to see happen:
Sign DT Dalvin Tomlinson
A versatile player who can play the run and pass, Tomlinson won’t get the big contract expected for Hargrave and Jones but could make a similar impact at a fraction of the price.
Sign NT A’Shawn Robinson
I get the feeling that Berry is none too happy with the defensive line as it stands so adding a nose tackle to go with Tomlinson will help immediately while opening up options in the NFL draft. Robinson, like Tomlinson, will not break the bank.
Sign DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
With big beefy guys added on the interior, Cleveland gets someone who can rush the passer from the wide-9 in Okoronkwo. An ascending player with five sacks last year on a bad Houston Texans defense, Okoronkwo helps build the depth on the defensive line.
Sign S Juan Thornhill
While Jessie Bates III is the dream, his contract demands likely put him out of the Browns price range (and most competitive teams). Thornhill and Julian Love are two players who can do similar things but at a much lower price.
Sign WR Trent Sherfield
Not the exciting pass catcher most would want, Sherfield had a career year last year in Miami with 30 receptions for 417 yards and two touchdowns. Sherfield had very good speed coming out of Vanderbilt, especially with his 2.53 20-yard split time.
While it isn’t the names you came to expect, with the DT market exploding and Bates expected to get huge money, Cleveland comes away with a lot of talent that can help the base of the team while not breaking the bank.
These type of moves early allows Berry to hold on to cap space (once he makes some) in case a veteran trade becomes available later in the offseason.