The Cleveland Browns have done a tremendous job adding talent throughout the offseason.
They’ve made major improvements at tight end and on the offensive line.
However, the linebacker position remains an area of concern heading into the 2020 season.
The Browns don’t exactly have reliable talent there and could use an upgrade before the season begins.
Could 28-year-old linebacker Jake Ryan be an option for the Browns heading into training camp?
Ryan ended up in free agency after the season and signed with the Baltimore Ravens.
However, he was recently cut by the team before even making it to training camp.
Ravens announce they’ve cut LB Jake Ryan, showing their faith in rookie ILBs Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison.
Baltimore reached a one-year deal with Ryan on April 18 before drafting two ILBs in the first 3 rounds. There was no guaranteed money with Ryan.
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) June 11, 2020
Ryan’s NFL Career
The Green Bay Packers selected Ryan during the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
He became an immediate impact player for Green Bay during his rookie season.
Ryan recorded 50 tackles, four tackles for loss, and four quarterback hits through 14 games (five starts) with Green Bay.
He followed that up with two straight 80 tackle seasons before suffering a major injury in 2018.
Ryan suffered a torn ACL during practice and was forced to sit out the entire season.
Packers LB Jake Ryan has a torn ACL, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 1, 2018
The Jacksonville Jaguars gave Ryan a chance and signed him to a two-year deal in 2019.
He only played in two games with the Jaguars because of injuries and was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
The weakest link on the Browns roster heading into 2020 is the linebacker group.
The team is led by second-year linebacker Mack Wilson who is coming off a solid rookie campaign.
He recorded 82 tackles, one fumble forced, and one interception through 16 games (14 starts) with Cleveland.
A fairly strong first season, but there are still major areas of concern in Wilson’s game.
The Browns signed veteran linebacker B.J. Goodson who is expected to start as well.
He is coming off a fairly mediocre season with the Packers where he recorded 37 tackles in 15 games.
Lastly, Sione Takitaki is projected to earn the final starting linebacker spot on the Browns defense.
The former third-round pick finished with 21 tackles through 15 games (one start) with Cleveland during his rookie season in 2019.
There is plenty of promise in Takitaki’s game, but it’s unclear if he’s ready to be a full-time starter.
“With the 80th pick in the 2019 Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Sione Takitaki, LB, Brigham Young.”
📺: NFLN/ESPN/ABC April 26-27 pic.twitter.com/s2aL3mBUsc
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 27, 2019
The depth behind these starters isn’t great, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.
New defensive coordinator Joe Woods is going to have his hands full during training camp.
Should The Browns Sign Ryan?
There really does not seem to be any downside to the Browns pursuing Ryan.
He has been banged up over the last few years, so he’ll likely take a one-year “prove it” type of deal.
There is plenty of injury concern, but he’ll likely be a depth or rotational type of player.
Ryan put together multiple strong campaigns before injuries derailed him over the last two years.
He could be a short-term solution for the team while their young linebackers develop.
Ryan could be a low-cost option that has almost zero risk because he shouldn’t require a huge salary after basically missing each of the last two seasons.
This could be a great chance for the Browns to add depth and an opportunity for Ryan to prove he’s healthy and can contribute to a team.