Free Agents Browns Should Pursue After 2022 NFL Draft

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIMay 9, 2022

Free Agents Browns Should Pursue After 2022 NFL Draft

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    There will be plenty of new faces when the Cleveland Browns arrive at training camp later this summer. That's because it's been an eventful offseason full of moves to overhaul their roster.

    The Browns traded for a pair of offensive stars in quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Amari Cooper. Even though they didn't have a pick during the first two rounds of the 2022 NFL draft, they still came away from the event with nine players—all taken over the final five rounds.

    Will any of Cleveland's rookies immediately seize starting roles in 2022? That remains to be seen. But either way, the Browns could still use more depth at several positions, and they may have some starting spots up for grabs depending on how situations develop leading up to the season.

    Cleveland's offseason may not be over, either. Here's a look at several free agents who the Browns may still want to consider signing over the next couple months.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE

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    While Myles Garrett will certainly be one of the Browns' starting edge-rushers, the team needs to decide who will start on the other side of the defensive line. Veteran Chase Winovich is currently an option, while Alex Wright (a third-round draft pick) could potentially make an impact in his rookie season.

    Or the Browns could re-sign their other starting edge-rusher from last year: Jadeveon Clowney. The 29-year-old remains on the free-agent market, even though he had a strong 2021 season.

    Clowney had 37 tackles, nine sacks and two forced fumbles in 14 games in his first year with the Browns. It marked the fourth straight season that he suited up for a different team, as he played for the Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans the previous three years.

    Perhaps it's time for Clowney to get some stability by returning to Cleveland. It would seem to be a smart move for both sides, as the Browns could plug him back into their starting lineup and let him continue to be part of a strong duo with Garrett.

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE

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    Cleveland also needs to prepare for the possibility that Clowney won't be back in 2022. If he's find a new home in free agency, it'll mean the Browns still need to bring in an edge-rusher.

    One potential fit could be Jason Pierre-Paul, who is another veteran with a proven track record in the league. The 33-year-old defensive end could be a valuable addition to the Browns' pass-rushing mix and would be a solid starter until a youngster eventually takes over the role.

    Pierre-Paul's numbers were a bit down in 2021, as he had only 2.5 sacks in 12 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But he had at least 8.5 sacks in each of the previous four seasons, so it's possible he'll return to that level of production this season.

    While Cleveland's top priority should likely be trying to re-signing Clowney, Pierre-Paul could be a solid contingency plan.

Albert Wilson, WR

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    The Browns aren't likely to spend big on another wide receiver before the 2022 season begins. Amari Cooper is their clear No. 1 playmaker now, and they've got some solid other options, such as Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz. Third-round pick David Bell could make an impact as a rookie, too.

    Cleveland may want to add one more proven receiver to the mix, and there are free-agent options available. One potential fit could be Albert Wilson, who has played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins over his seven-year NFL career.

    This wouldn't be the flashiest move, but Wilson has been a solid contributor in recent seasons. He may not return to Miami, though, after recording only 213 yards and no touchdowns in 2021. Wilson may be able to put up better numbers in a different offense.

    The addition of Wilson could turn out to be a smart depth move for the Browns. Or if they go a different route, there are some similar receivers still available who could fill that type of role.