This deal is a shrewd piece of business by the Browns front office. Bunkley offers several benefits to the new defensive scheme.
The 27-year-old is an experienced 4-3 veteran having played exclusively in the system during his five pro seasons. The Browns face the difficult transition from a 3-4, and adding personnel well versed in the new scheme will help smooth the process.
Bunkley is also well practiced in zone blitz concepts. This could prove very useful to defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. Jauron favoured zone drops by his linemen when he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.
Bunkley learned the nuances of 4-3 zone blitzes from the late great Jim Johnson. His knowledge increases the number of ways the Browns can attack offensive blocking schemes.
By adding Bunkley the Browns give themselves valuable insurance in case Ahtyba Rubin, a player used to the more sacrificial 3-4, struggles to adapt to the new system.
Rubin is an extremely talented tackle, but not all players embrace the schematic switch. Top draft choice Phil Taylor is still unsigned and could sink or swim in his first year.
Having a dependable veteran like Bunkley around eases the pressure on Rubin and Taylor to immediately be the linchpins of the new system.
Bunkley also adds some much needed speed to the defensive tackle rotation. Rubin and Taylor are both hulking space eaters.
If the Browns retain Robaire Smith, they will have three big and powerful—but somewhat cumbersome—options at defensive tackle.
Bunkley is a very active lineman with a quick takeoff. He offers a new wrinkle for the interior of the line. With Bunkley in the rotation the Browns will have the freedom to incorporate more line stunts and games.
The Browns also get an excellent run defender. Bunkley is decisive and aggressive at the point of attack. These factors combined with that quick first step and great run instincts allow Bunkley to regularly shut down rushing plays before they can develop.
In a division loaded with power ground games, Bunkley's proficiency in this area could prove vital. Becoming more stout against the run will create the kind of favourable down and distance situations for Jauron to unleash his sophisticated package of blitzes.
The addition of Bunkley won't grab major headlines and there certainly were more high-profile names available at the position.
But the Browns have acquired a solid and underrated, consistent performer who can be a valuable contributor in their new defense.