5 Free Agent Defensive Lineman The Browns Should Sign
The Cleveland Browns have $48 Million dollars in cap room before they address their own free agents this off-season. One difficult call that GM Ray Framer will have to face is that of Ahtyba Rubin’s future with the Browns. Rubin has played in 100 games for the Browns as well as playing under 2 ownership’s, 5 general managers, 5 head coaches and 5 defensive coordinators. Rubin(28) was a 6th round pick out of Iowa State in 2008 but signed a back loaded 4 year $26.50 million dollar deal in 2011. Rubin’s contract paid him almost $8.2 million this past season. The Browns are rumored to be headed in a different direction and its very plausible that even if Rubin were to take a pay cut to stay with the Browns, they would still explore depth at the position considering Ishmaa’ily Kitchen is also a free agent this off-season. Here are 5 free agent defensive lineman still in their 20’s that could fill his role on what could be a dominant Browns defense:
Raji did not play any snaps in 2014 which is why he had a Profootballfocus.com rating of zero and also why he could be had at reasonable rate. He tore his right biceps in a preseason game against the Raiders and was lost for the season. Raji would be the least expensive option on this list but likely still has good years left.
Fairley played 278 snaps in 2014 and recorded a 9.8 rating from Profootballfocus.com which ranks sixth among current interior defensive lineman free agents. Fairley will demand a substantial payday but in turn would solidify an already very strong Browns front seven. If the Browns did not bring back Rubin they could afford to make a big signing like this.
Knighton played 528 snaps for the Broncos last season and scored a 12.7 rating from Profootballfocus.com which leads the way on this list and third among all free agent interior defensive lineman. He would command even more money than Fairley simply based on dependability.
Williams played 427 snaps for the Cardinals in 2014 and scored an impressive 11.5 rating from Profootballfocus.com. This makes him the 5th ranked interior defensive lineman on the 2015 free agency list right above Fairley. He played more snaps than Fairley by a considerable margin though and will likely be right their in the same same salary tier as Knighton.
Odrick played more snaps than any free agent interior defensive lineman with an incredible 817. He scored a 9.0 rating from Profootballfocus.com which has him landing right behind Fairley at 7th on the list. Expect Odrick to command similar money to Knighton and Williams due to his dependability and that he may still have his best football ahead of him.
All 5 of these guys will be hot commodities in free agency but the Browns will be one of the teams that has the money to pay one of them. The Browns interior defensive lineman, Rubin and Kitchen scored well below any of the players referenced above and Rubin alone cost the Browns over $8 Million last year, which is at least twice what any of the above players made respectively. Look for the Browns to take advantage and upgrade or add depth with a key signing on the defensive line this off-season.
By: Brad Ward
Follow @CST_BradWard On Twitter