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Cleveland Browns' 2021 offseason preview: Free agents, position needs, trade targets

The Cleveland Browns enter the 2021 NFL offseason looking to improve on their 11-5 regular-season record and run to the AFC divisional round.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Jan. 20, 2021.

The NFL's "legal tampering" period is set to begin on Monday with the start of the new league year scheduled for Wednesday. With that in mind, let's take a look at the Cleveland Browns' pending free agents, biggest needs and potential fits as they embark on their second offseason under general manager Andrew Berry.

RELATED: More Cleveland Browns coverage from WKYC

Pending free agents

  • WR Rashard Higgins
  • WR Marvin Hall
  • WR/KR JoJo Natson
  • WR Taywan Taylor
  • WR KhaDarel Hodge (RFA)
  • OT Kendall Lamm
  • OL Michael Dunn (ERFA)
  • OG Anthony Fabiano (RFA)
  • DE Olivier Vernon
  • DE George Obinna (ERFA)
  • DT Larry Ogunjobi
  • DT Vincent Taylor
  • LB B.J. Goodson
  • LB Malcolm Smith
  • LB Elijah Lee
  • CB Terrance Mitchell
  • CB Kevin Johnson
  • CB Brian Allen (ERFA)
  • CB Tavierre Thomas (RFA)
  • S Karl Joseph
  • S Andrew Sendejo
  • S Tedric Thompson
  • K Cody Parkey

Position needs

Edge defender

With Olivier Vernon set to hit free agency and still recovering from a torn ACL, the Browns have a glaring at the starting defensive end spot opposite Myles Garrett. Look for Cleveland to prioritize the position in both the draft and free agency.

Cornerback

Terrance Mitchell and Kevin Johnson are set to hit free agency, potentially leaving the Browns without two of their top three cornerbacks from a season ago. Even with Greedy Williams set to return from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the entirety of the 2020 season, Cleveland needs to both improve and add depth to its cornerback room.

Safety

Ronnie Harrison Jr. and Grant Delpit are penciled in as the Browns' starters for 2021 but Harrison is in the final year of his contract and Delpit is both unproven and coming off a torn Achilles. Even if Cleveland feels good about both players, its defensive scheme possesses the flexibility to play three safeties at once.

Defensive tackle

Larry Ogunjobi is headed to free agency and Sheldon Richardson and Andrew Billings are each in the final years of their contracts. Even if Jordan Elliott makes a jump after a promising rookie season, Cleveland could use both an upgrade and depth at the position.

Wide receiver

Even with big money committed to Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns could stand to add a deep threat to their wide receiving corps. How Cleveland approaches the position may depend on whether it re-signs Rashard Higgins.

Linebacker

Analytically driven front offices don't typically value the linebacker position, but that doesn't make it any less of a need for the Browns. That would ring especially true if Cleveland doesn't re-sign B.J. Goodson, who was arguably the Browns' best player at the position in 2020.

Potential free agent targets

Edge defenders

  • Carl Lawson (Cincinnati Bengals)
  • Shaquil Barrett (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • Jadeveon Clowney (Tennessee Titans)
  • Trey Hendrickson (New Orleans Saints)
  • Yannick Ngakoue (Baltimore Ravens)
  • Haason Reddick (Arizona Cardinals)
  • Melvin Ingram III (Los Angeles Chargers)
  • Matthew Judon (Baltimore Ravens)
  • Bud Dupree (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Takkarist McKinley (Las Vegas Raiders)
  • Romeo Okwara (Detroit Lions)
  • Tarrell Basham (New York Jets)
  • Trent Murphy (Buffalo Bills)
  • Dawuane Smoot (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Cornerback

  • William Jackson III (Cincinnati Bengals)
  • Desmond King II (Tennesee Titans)
  • Mike Hilton (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Troy Hill (Los Angeles Rams)
  • Brian Poole (New York Jets)
  • Darious Williams (Los Angeles Rams)
  • Chidobe Awuzie (Dallas Cowboys)
  • Richard Sherman (San Francisco 49ers)
  • Shaquill Griffin (Seattle Seahawks)
  • Quinton Dunbar (Seattle Seahawks)
  • Xavier Rhodes (Indianapolis Colts)
  • Ronald Darby (Washington Football Team)
  • Jason Verrett (Arizona Cardinals)
  • Patrick Peterson (Arizona Cardinals)
  • Nickell Robey-Coleman (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Mackensie Alexander (Cincinnati Bengals)
  • Gareon Conley (Houston Texans)
  • A.J. Bouye (Denver Broncos)
  • Malcolm Butler (Tennessee Titans)

Safety

  • Anthony Harris (Minnesota Vikings)
  • John Johnson III (Los Angeles Rams)
  • Malik Hooker (Indianapolis Colts)
  • Xavier Woods (Dallas Cowboys)
  • Keanu Neal (Atlanta Falcons)
  • Jaquiski Tartt (San Francisco 49ers)
  • Bradley McDougald (Seattle Seahawks)
  • Earl Thomas

Defensive tackle

  • Malcom Brown (New Orleans Saints)
  • Dalvin Tomlinson (New York Giants)
  • Quinton Jefferson (Buffalo Bills)
  • Johnathan Hankins (Las Vegas Raiders)
  • Roy Robertson-Harris (Chicago Bears)
  • DaQuan Jones (Tennessee Titans)
  • Shelby Harris (Denver Broncos)
  • Ndamukong Suh (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Wide receiver

  • Kenny Golladay (Detroit Lions)
  • Will Fuller V (Houston Texans)
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Corey Davis (Tennesee Titans)
  • Antonio Brown (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • Curtis Samuel (Carolina Panthers)
  • John Brown (Buffalo Bills)
  • Marvin Jones Jr. (Detroit Lions)
  • Nelson Agholor (Las Vegas Raiders)
  • Breshad Perriman (New York Jets)
  • T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts)
  • John Ross III (Cincinnati Bengals)
  • Sammy Watkins (Kansas City Chiefs)
  • Keelan Cole (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Linebacker

  • Jayon Brown (Tennesee Titans)
  • K.J. Wright (Seattle Seahawks)
  • Kevin Pierre-Louis (Washington Football Team)
  • Denzel Perryman (Los Angeles Chargers)
  • Kwon Alexander (New Orleans Saints)
  • Kyle Van Noy (Miami Dolphins)
  • Eric Wilson (Minnesota Vikings)
  • Raekwon McMillan (Las Vegas Raiders)
  • Brandon Copeland (New England Patriots)
  • Alex Anzalone (New Orleans Saints)
  • Darron Lee (Buffalo Bills)
Credit: AP
Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Jayon Brown (55) against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Potential trade targets

Edge defenders

  • Marcus Davenport (New Orleans Saints)
  • Brandon Graham (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Derek Barnett (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Josh Sweat (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Da'Shawn Hand (Detroit Lions)

Cornerback

  • Marshon Lattimore (New Orleans Saints)
  • Stephon Gilmore (New England Patriots)
  • Donte Jackson (Carolina Panthers)
  • Adoree' Jackson (Tennessee Titans)
  • Isaiah Oliver (Atlanta Falcons)

Safety

  • Justin Simmons (Denver Broncos)
  • Marcus Williams (New Orleans Saints)
  • Marcus Maye (New York Jets)
  • Harrison Smith (Minnesota Vikings)
  • Quandre Diggs (Seattle Seahawks)

Defensive tackle

  • Jonathan Allen (Washington Football Team)
  • Tyquan Lewis (Indianapolis Colts)
  • B.J. Hill (New York Giants)
  • Maurice Hurst (Las Vegas Raiders)
  • Jalyn Holmes (Minnesota Vikings)

Wide receiver

  • Robby Anderson (Carolina Panthers)
  • Jamison Crowder (New York Jets)
  • Christian Kirk (Arizona Cardinals)
  • DJ Chark (Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • Kevin White (San Francisco 49ers)

Linebacker

  • Fred Warner (San Francisco 49ers)
  • Eric Kendricks (Minnesota Vikings)
  • Jerome Baker (Miami Dolphins)
  • Josey Jewell (Denver Broncos)
  • Blake Martinez (New York Giants)