You can guarantee that the Cleveland Browns have already started researching players as free agency slowly approaches. There will be holes to fill with the departure of players and there are also positions that need upgrades or additional depth. The free agency period is a chance to improve your team and you can search through a whole pool of players to do so. The key is finding the right people at the right price.
I believe Ryan Fitzpatrick falls into this category. He will probably part ways with Tampa Bay because of the makeover to the coaching staff and he was only on a one year deal anyway. That deal was worth $3.3 million and is more than affordable for Cleveland. I could see them signing him to a team friendly two year contract to help teach Baker.
If Tyrod Taylor stays, then great, but I expect him to try and land a starting gig somewhere and if that’s the case, then Fitzpatrick is my guy.
He may not be your average starter, but this dude has over 29,000 passing yards under his belt and another 2,000 rushing. Now, he is a 36-year-old with 14 years into the game. He isn’t the glorified starter he was if ever considered that, but he is still a respectable quarterback. He completed 66.7% of his passes and started the season with three consecutive 400-yard performances. He has proven he can be successful and win in this league. The problem is he just can’t sustain it. If you watch football then you have seen this time and time again. Fitzpatrick’s days as a starter are coming to an end so why not embrace the veteran role and pass along your knowledge to Baker Mayfield.
The next guy I would like to see the Browns pursue is Bradley Roby. Cleveland dealt with numerous injuries in the secondary throughout the 2018 campaign and signing a guy like Roby would be a nice insurance policy.
Denzel Ward suffered two concussions so they need to make sure he is right before he sees any action. EJ Gaines suffered two as well. Terrance Mitchell missed 10 weeks with a broken arm. So that leaves TJ Carrie as the only cornerback to play all 16 games. I expect Cleveland to address this via the draft or free agency.
That’s why I’m starting the ‘Bring Bradley Back’ campaign to convince him to come back to Ohio where he played college ball. The Browns can certainly use his help.
Roby has played in 79 out of 80 possible games since entering the league in 2014. He missed his first game in 2018 due to a concussion. Not only does the cornerback have a healthy track record, but he is productive, too. He is a reliable tackler and averages 47 tackles a year. Roby is also terrific in coverage. The lowest amount of passes he defended in a season is eight and his career high of 17 came in 2017. Signing the Ohio State product may be costly, by it would totally be worth it.
Finally, I think Cleveland should also look into signing Tyrann Mathieu who would be a great addition to our secondary. He is a safety that the team can rely on in two aspects, health and production.
Health may be a concern for The Honey Badger. He had trouble staying on the field throughout the first four years of his career with the Arizona Cardinals. Although his play on the field showed a promising career, he was starting to be labeled injury prone after three serious injuries in four seasons. Mathieu has bounced back from ACL injuries in 2013 and 2015 and a shoulder injury in 2016.
Despite concerns and criticism, the safety got back on the field in 2017 and there he remained. He has started all 32 games for the past two seasons with Arizona and the Houston Texans. In that time, Mathieu has accumulated 167 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions
The Browns have money to spend this offseason and I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to think that they can realistically sign all three of these guys. Fitzpatrick is more of an insurance policy, but the addition of Roby and Mathieu could improve our defense.