CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns have made their first big move of free agency, agreeing to a deal with former Los Angeles Rams safety John Johnson III, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network. Per Garafolo, Johnson's contract with Cleveland will be for three years and $33.75 million, $24 million of which is guaranteed.
Selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the 25-year-old Johnson was considered one of the top safeties on the free-agent market this offseason. In four seasons with the Rams, the Boston College product appeared in 54 games (48 starts), totaling 32 pass defenses and eight interceptions.
Starting all 16 games during the 2020 season, Johnson tallied eight pass defenses and one interception while serving as a captain on what was one of the NFL's top defenses. According to Pro Football Focus, he ranked as the No. 3 overall safety in the NFL, as well as the third-best player at his position in coverage.
In coming to Cleveland, Johnson joins a Browns secondary that lacked consistency throughout the 2020 season. At safety, Cleveland returns Ronnie Harrison Jr., who is entering the final season of his contract, as well as second-year player Grant Delpit, who missed the entirety of his rookie campaign due to a torn Achilles injury.
Entering the 2021 offseason with more than $24 million in cap space, the Browns have figured to be active players in the free agency market as they look to improve on last season's 11-5 regular-season record and run to the AFC divisional round.