The Cleveland Browns have made a few notable extensions throughout the season and offseason, but it’s time to do more.
They have plenty of cap space and rather than pursuing free agents, they should first shore up their own players.
Let’s take a look at three Browns players that Cleveland would be foolish to lose.
1. Jadaveon Clowney, Defensive End
The dynamic duo of Jadaveon Clowney on one side and Myles Garrett on the other was a force to be reckoned with.
While Garrett often stole the show, he was helped a great deal by having another pass-rushing threat on defense.
He recorded nine total sacks and was a constant threat to get into the backfield.
He also played with energy and passion that some thought he had lost, but it seems like Clowney just needed a fresh start in a new city.
Clowney was the first overall pick in 2014, which made 2021 his eighth overall season.
He’s only 28 years old, which puts him in his prime, and has a ton of football left to play.
He’s also a three-time pro-bowler and has shown time and again his ability to disrupt the game and make big plays.
Cleveland got Clowney on a steep discount in the form of a one-year $7 million contract last off-season.
He’ll definitely want more money moving forward, and it’s up to the Browns to find the cash they need and keep their second-best pass rusher.
Browns own free agent priority list:
1A – Jadaveon Clowney
1B – David Njoku
3 – MJ Stewart
Feel 95% or better that the first two re-sign with the Browns. Should be a very good chance that Stewart re-signs with them as well.
— Mayfield Garrett Stefanski Era 🐶 (@MylesOffTheEdge) January 29, 2022
2. David Njoku, Tight End
The Browns aren’t exactly flush with big-play threats, especially with the departure of Odell Beckham Jr.
David Njoku might be a tight end, but he’s one of their only big-play threats and a favorite red-zone target of Baker Mayfield.
While Njoku didn’t have as much production in the previous season, it can be argued that it was due to the offensive struggles of Mayfield and the play-calling.
At any rate, Njoku’s proven his athleticism, hands, and receiving ability time and again.
The main holdup at this point is that Cleveland has two other reliable tight ends on the team in Harrison Bryant and Austin Hooper.
Because of how cheap Bryant is at this point in his career, Cleveland will likely keep him on the team.
They’ll owe Hooper a minimum of $9 million in 2022, and Njoku will likely fetch a similar price, which means that the choice will probably come down to keeping Njoku or Hooper, but not both.
— The_Brownie_Elf (@TheBrownieElf1) January 27, 2022
3. Anthony Walker, Linebacker
Anthony Walker is a seasoned veteran at the linebacker position who added leadership and stability to a Browns defense that desperately needed it.
While his numbers on the field didn’t put 2021 as one of Walker’s best seasons ever, he’s still a player that the Browns should consider keeping around.
Cleveland was hampered with injuries all season long, and Walker was a constant presence that younger players benefited from.
The Browns signed Walker for the low sum of $3 million, which is likely similar to what they would have to pay to resign him.
There are plenty of solid free agent linebackers to choose from this offseason, but none of them will be as good of a bargain as Walker.