The Browns usually have more than one restricted free agent, but this year, the only player who falls into that category is OG Michael Dunn.
How and When He Joined the Browns: Dunn was an undrafted free agent with the Rams in 2017, but bounced between the AAF, NFL, and XFL after that before signing with the Browns before the 2020 season. He was tendered as an exclusive rights free agent last year.
Productivity Level Last Season: Dunn was credited with started two games for the Browns last year: in Week 3 against the Steelers, and in Week 8 against the Bengals. Funny enough, they represented two of the Browns’ best games of the season. However, neither of those starts were as a traditional offensive lineman: he was serving as a blocking tight end essentially. He missed the end of the season, going on injured reserve in late-November.
Why Keeping Him Could Make Sense: Ah, who remembers the glory days when the likes of Michael Dunn (making his first start), Kendall Lamm, and Blake Hance saw significant action in a playoff win over the Steelers?
#Browns Michael Dunn, Kendall Lamm, and Blake Hance combined for 68 pass-blocking snaps against the league’s top pass-rush.— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) January 11, 2021
They allowed a combined two pressures and zero sacks. pic.twitter.com/m44EMyaL8a
It was interesting that Dunn seemed to play well and was versatile in 2021, and yet he was relegated to being a blocking tight end/sixth lineman for the 2022 season. When Wyatt Teller went down, the team opted to play Hjalte Froholdt as the started instead of Dunn. Perhaps Dunn was viewed as the backup left guard and Froholdt the backup right tackle, so if that’s the case, why not keep a solid backup behind Joel Bitonio?
What the Browns Should Do: As a restricted free agent, a tender for Dunn would cost $2.627 million. Theoretically, Cleveland could slap that tender on him and then re-negotiate him down to a minimum salary deal, like they did with RB D’Ernest Johnson last year. But I’ll go with the more traditional route: they won’t tender Dunn, which will let him become a free agent, and then they can sign him to the same 1-year, $1.01 million deal that I’d offer to Froholdt. Then, just like that, the Browns don’t have to worry about their backup guard situation this offseason — and Dunn could also be the backup center (he was hurt when Ethan Pocic missed time last season).
Let us know below whether or not the team should try to re-sign OG Michael Dunn.
Should the Browns find a way to bring OG Michael Dunn back?
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