With NFL free agency right around the corner, the Cleveland Browns have decisions to make regarding some of their own players that are set to hit free agency. Cleveland opted to not use the franchise tag, so all of the Browns’ upcoming free agents are set to the open market. With that being said, here are the top five players on the Browns that are due for pay raises.
Over the course of the last few season, Mitchell has been asked to play a larger role than expected due to various injuries at the cornerback position. Cleveland’s pass defending ranks have not been good as of late, with both the cornerback and safety positions needing significant upgrades. The Browns have both the draft capital and cap space to improve on an at time maligned pass defense. Look for Cleveland to move on from Mitchell.
4. B.J. Goodson
The veteran linebacker took on the role as the defensive on field play caller, a vital role for any player to undertake. Despite Cleveland being linked to free agents such as Lavonte David, that was more of a pipe dream, as a return from BJ Goodson is far more likely. Goodson is coming off a career season in which he recorded 59 solo tackles, in addition to grabbing two interceptions. While the Browns are in need of finding some more speed at the linebacker position, a Goodson return could be in the cards if the price is right.
Cleveland will most likely look to move on from Ogunjobi, who was underwhelming this past year after back to back seasons with over five sacks. The Browns ranked 23rd in total defense this past season, and one of the areas in which Cleveland can improve is in their interior run coverage. Look for the Browns to try and upgrade the interior of their defensive line next to Sheldon Richardson.
The Browns fan favorite worked his way up the depth chart following multiple injuries in the receivers room, and performed admirably in the absence of Odell Beckham Jr. Higgins also has always had great rapport with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield when called upon for production, making him someone the Browns need to think about brining back. The asking price will be the key here, as the Browns already have around 30 million dollars tied up between Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry.
Vernon is an especially interesting case, who is coming off a career resurgence this past season with his play opposite Myles Garrett on Cleveland’s defensive line. The veteran even flourished when Garrett with out of the lineup with COVID-19. Unfortunately for Vernon, he ruptured an achilles tendon in the regular reason finale versus Pittsburgh, severely hurting his chances to return to the Browns in 2021 as he will not be available for a majority of, if not all of the season due to the injury.