Last offseason, the Cleveland Browns front office made some big splashes in free agency.
Those two were the major signings last offseason, but the front office does deserve credit for bringing in some under-the-radar talent as well.
One of those players being defensive back Kevin Johnson who served a fairly significant role for the Browns during the 2020 campaign.
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) March 19, 2020
The 28-year-old is set to become a free agent after signing a one-year deal with the Browns last offseason.
It remains to be seen if Cleveland will attempt to sign an extension with Johnson or decide to part ways with the veteran defensive back.
This was an under-the-radar type of signing when it happened because Johnson was expected to be mostly depth.
Sadly, things never seem to go according to plan as Williams missed the entire season due to a nerve issue in his shoulder.
That being said, Johnson was immediately asked to step up and play a significant role for the Browns.
Through 13 games, Johnson recorded 35 tackles, one fumble forced, and three passes defended in 2020.
PFF ranked him 96th out of 121 eligible cornerbacks.
He finished 2020 posting a coverage grade of 52.6 and an overall grade of 51.4.
This is a step back from the overall grade he posted with the Bills in 2019 at 71.9.
Johnson posted his best PFF grade in his second year with the Texans at 81.2.
His play was inconsistent as well as starting off the year missing the first few weeks with a lacerated liver.
— All Eyez on Cleveland Podcast (@AllEyezonCle) February 8, 2021
Those numbers don’t exactly jump off the stat sheet, but Johnson was never expected to be a starter in Cleveland.
He was signed as veteran depth, but was basically forced into significant playing time in a new system.
On most occasions, Johnson did his job effectively, but was it enough for Cleveland to keep him around?
Bring Back Johnson?
As mentioned before, the former first-round pick is set to become a free agent this offseason.
Johnson didn’t put together elite numbers in Cleveland, but this is still an important decision for the team.
At the end of the day, it might come down to what type of deal Johnson is seeking?
Cleveland also might consider bringing back Terrance Mitchell after he put up career highs with the Browns in 2020.
Both Mitchell and Johnson were asked to play much bigger roles than expected after Greedy Williams went down.
— Oliver Davis II (@I_Am_OD3) September 1, 2020
Johnson was a helpful piece on defense, but isn’t going to be a long term solution.
The Browns shouldn’t have any issues finding similar help in free agency or the draft.
Honestly, Cleveland doesn’t need to even consider bringing back Johnson unless he’s willing to take a short term deal.
This organization doesn’t need to invest significant money into an average rotational player who is mainly depth.
Johnson stepped up and helped Cleveland in 2020, but it might be time for the two sides to part ways.