CLEVELAND — With Super Bowl 55 set for Sunday, it won't be long until the 2021 NFL offseason is underway. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the upcoming free agents that the Cleveland Browns could potentially target in the weeks ahead.
John Ross III, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Regardless of what happens with Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashard Higgins in the upcoming offseason, the Browns need to add some speed to their receiving corps. While he didn't produce much during his time with the Bengals, John Ross is one of the fastest players in the league and will be more affordable for Cleveland than unrealistic targets such as Will Fuller V.
Breshad Perriman, WR, New York Jets
Cleveland is already plenty familiar with Breshad Perriman, who was one of Baker Mayfield's favorite targets during the 2018 season. After catching 30 passes for 505 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games with the Jets, it's hard to imagine the veteran speedster signing for more than the one-year, $3 million contract he did last offseason.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Tennessee Titans
Before he signed with the Titans, the Browns were one of the teams most consistently linked to Jadeveon Clowney last offseason. And while the former No. 1 pick failed the register a single sack in eight games with Tennessee, Cleveland could sign him at a discount, with Spotrac projecting his market value to be a one-year, $6.5 million deal in 2021.
Carl Lawson, DE, Cincinnati Bengals
High-level defensive ends don't often hit the free agent market, but Carl Lawson might be the exception. Should the Bengals fail to re-sign Lawson, the Browns could make a play for the Auburn product to be Myles Garrett's running mate. Spotrac projects Lawson's market value to be a four-year, $35.4 million deal.
Solomon Thomas, DL, San Francisco 49ers
The No. 3 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, Solomon Thomas failed to register more than three sacks in any of his four seasons with the 49ers and is coming off a torn ACL. But that lack of production could result in the Browns signing the talented and versatile defensive lineman to a favorable contract, with Spotrac projecting his market value to be a three-year, $16.8 million deal.
Charles Harris, DE, Atlanta Falcons
Since being selected with the No. 22 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, Charles Harris has started just nine games. But considering Cleveland's recent history of signing former first-round picks, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Browns take a flyer on the Missouri product in order to add some pass-rush depth.
Dawuane Smoot, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars
In four seasons in Jacksonville, Dawuane Smoot hasn't shown he can be a starting-caliber defensive end. But he can provide solid depth at a position of need for Cleveland and is the type of young (25-years-old), athletic player the Browns front office often covets.
Shelby Harris, DL, Denver Broncos
With Larry Ogunjobi set to hit free agency, the Browns have an immediate need on the interior of their defensive line. Shelby Harris could fill that void and provide long term insurance at the position for Cleveland with Sheldon Richardson and Andrew Billings entering the final years of their contracts.
Avery Williamson, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Browns' analytically-driven front office isn't likely to invest heavily at the linebacker position but Avery Williamson should be relatively affordable. Spotrac projects the Cleveland native's market value to be a two-year, $14.4 million deal.
Matt Milano, LB, Buffalo Bills
Ranking as Pro Football Focus' No. 37 overall free agent, Matt Milano is a modern linebacker who excels in coverage. While he wouldn't come cheap -- Spotrac projects a three-year, $41.4 million contract -- he would add a dynamic to Cleveland's defense it currently lacks.
Jayon Brown, LB, Tennessee Titans
With Milano likely to be more expensive than what the Browns are looking to spend on a linebacker, Jayon Brown could prove to be a cheaper alternative. While he's currently covering from an elbow fracture, the 25-year-old Brown is the type of young player Cleveland's front office prefers to invest in.
William Jackson III, CB, Cincinnati Bengals
With Terrance Mitchell set to hit free agency and Greedy Williams having missed the entire 2020 season with a shoulder injury, the Browns have an immediate need at corner. A former first-round pick, William Jackson III is a high upside player whose price range is tough to decipher. While Spotrac projects a market value deal of three years and $18.9 million, Pro Football Focus is forecasting Jackson to sign a three-year, $40 million contract.
Desmond King II, CB, Tennessee Titans
In addition to Mitchell, Kevin Johnson is set to be a free agent this offseason. That leaves Cleveland with a void that could be filled by Desmond King II, who PFF has ranked as one of the best players at the position in the league and its No. 20 free agent.
Mike Hilton, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Like King, Mike Hilton is a versatile defensive back who has excelled in the slot. He's also likely to be more affordable, with Spotrac projecting a three-year, $24.5 million deal.
Troy Hill, CB, Los Angeles Rams
Having earned strong PFF grades dating back to his college career, Troy Hill fits the profile of what the Browns often look for in a player. Plus, his ability to play on the outside or in the slot could give Cleveland flexibility in filling its defensive voids throughout the offseason.
Xavier Woods, DB, Dallas Cowboys
With Ronnie Harrison Jr. set to return and Grant Delpit expected to make his debut after missing his rookie season with a torn Achilles, the Browns don't have an immediate need for a starting safety. Cleveland, does, however, need depth at the position, and Xavier Woods can provide that, as well as the versatility to also play cornerback.