Breaking News
More () »

Cleveland Browns' 2021 free agent safety targets

The Cleveland Browns could make a run at some of the top safeties on the 2021 free-agent market this offseason.

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

As the Cleveland Browns enter the 2021 NFL offseason, there is no shortage of intrigue regarding how they will handle the safety position.

RELATED: More Cleveland Browns coverage from WKYC

With Grant Delpit is set to make his return after missing his rookie season due to a torn Achilles and Ronnie Harrison Jr. back for his second season in Cleveland, the Browns currently have two starting safeties penciled in. But between Delpit's injury and unproven status and Harrison entering the final season of his contract, it would be tough to say that Cleveland's safety depth chart has been solidified.

As a result, don't be surprised to see the Browns be active players at safety in the weeks ahead. With that in mind, let's take a look at the top free agent at the position who Cleveland could target in the weeks ahead.

Anthony Harris (Minnesota Vikings)

With Justin Simmons likely to either re-sign or be franchise tagged by the Denver Broncos, Anthony Harris will likely be the top free-agent safety on the market this offseason. The NFL's interceptions leader in 2019, Harris' production took a step back in 2020, ranking as Pro Football Focus' No. 38 safety.

Still, the 29-year-old possesses a proven track record, having consistently graded as one of the top players at his position since entering the NFL in 2015. If the Browns are looking to make a splash at a position of need, they'd be hard-pressed to find a better fit than Harris, who PFF projects to receive a four-year, $56 million contract this offseason.

Marcus Williams (New Orleans)

Thanks to their crowded salary cap situation, the New Orleans Saints won't be able to retain all of their key free agents. That could include Marcus Williams, who like Harris, has consistently graded as one of the top safeties in the NFL for the past four seasons.

At 24-years-old, Williams is also younger than Harris, which falls more in line with the way the Browns front office prefers to spend its cap space. PFF projects Williams to receive a slightly higher four-year, $57 million contract.

John Johnson III (Los Angeles Rams)

Like New Orleans, the Los Angeles Rams are currently in a position where they will likely have to let key players walk. And safety John Johnson III could have plenty of appeal to Cleveland after ranking as PFF's No. 3 safety in 2020.

Considering the 25-year-old Johnson's prowess in pass coverage, he could actually wind up being a more appealing target for the Browns than either Harris or Williams. PFF projects the Boston College product to sign a similar four-year, $55 million contract. 

Marcus Maye (New York Jets)

While there haven't been many bright spots for the New York Jets the past few seasons, Marcus Maye has been the rare exception. Last season, the Florida product ranked as PFF's No. 5 safety and has graded in the top 20 in each of the past three seasons.

In fact, PFF projects that other than Simmons, Maye will receive the highest contract of any safety this offseason at four years and $60 million. Considering his strength in coverage, the 27-year-old would make plenty of sense for Cleveland, where his versatility would be a welcome addition.

Malik Hooker (Indianapolis Colts)

Malik Hooker won't be as coveted as the other safeties on this list and it would be fair to say that the Ohio State product's NFL career has been disappointing to this point. Since being selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the 2016 All-American has played in just 36 games, missing all but two in 2020 due to a torn Achilles.

Still, at 24-years-old, Hooker possesses plenty of potential and the first-round pedigree the Browns' front office has coveted in the past. In Cleveland feels good about Harrison and Delpit, Hooker could make sense as an inexpensive, high upside addition.

Other free agent safeties:

  • Justin Simmons (Denver Broncos)
  • Xavier Woods (Dallas Cowboys)
  • Keanu Neal (Atlanta Falcons)
  • Jaquiski Tartt (San Francisco 49ers)
  • Bradley McDougald (Seattle Seahawks)
  • Earl Thomas


Before You Leave, Check This Out