The search for another defensive end continues for the Cleveland Browns.
Last offseason, they signed Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year deal.
They’ve made an offer to re-sign him, but could head in a different direction.
Cleveland is reportedly interested in trading for Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter.
— Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey) March 21, 2022
The two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher would certainly be an upgrade to the Browns roster.
The front office appears ready to win-now, so possibly they decide to make a trade.
Giving Up Hunter
It seems a bit odd that the Vikings would be willing to give up Hunter.
He was limited to seven games in 2021, but still recorded 38 tackles and six sacks.
The 27-year-old has recorded 60.5 sacks during his six-year career with Minnesota.
His production remains solid, but the increase in salary could be the issue.
In 2022, Hunter is set to have a cap hit of $25.8 million, which is fairly significant.
The Vikings could look to trade Hunter in order to open up cap space for other possible free agents.
Most notably, they’ve discussed bringing in pass rusher Za’Darius Smith, but need more cap room.
Source says that free-agent pass rusher Za'Darius Smith is in Minnesota right now visiting the #Vikings. Source said that Vikings would be able to carve out enough cap room to make a suitable offer on Smith if that's what they deem to do.
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) March 21, 2022
Possibly, trading away Hunter would create enough cap space to sign Smith.
The Browns might be able to get a good deal on Hunter, assuming they take on his salary.
Although, it’s uncertain if the Browns are prepared to take on such a large cap hit.
Hunter To Cleveland?
On paper, bringing in a player such as Hunter would be a huge upgrade to the Browns’ defense.
Right now, it’s uncertain if Clowney wants to return to Cleveland, so the Browns shouldn’t wait around.
They need another reliable pass rusher to help take the pressure off Myles Garrett.
They’ve already attempted to solve the problem by making a trade earlier in the offseason.
Cleveland acquired New England Patriots pass rusher Chase Winovich in exchange for linebacker Mack Wilson.
The Patriots have traded OLB Chase Winovich to the Browns for LB Mack Wilson, as @TomPelissero reported.
A change of scenery for the 2019 draft picks, as Winovich can help the Browns’ pass rush, while Wilson can help a retooled Patriots LB group.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 15, 2022
Winovich is an upgrade over the Browns’ current options, but isn’t a long-term solution.
He’s recorded 85 tackles and 11 sacks through three seasons in New England.
The 26-year-old has potential, but might not be the answer Cleveland is looking for right now.
Meanwhile, Hunter is the type of player that could push this defense over the top.
He’s an elite pass rusher that has been relatively healthy throughout his career.
His salary is significant, but that is because he is an elite talent.
The Browns should strongly consider trading for Hunter if they want to go all-in now.
It’ll depend on the Vikings’ asking price, but Cleveland should certainly kick the tires on Hunter this offseason.