Rashard Higgins was a great keep
Ever since Legal Tampering started on March 15th, it has been a wild time in the NFL with players getting signed left and right. The Cleveland Browns have a ton of holes on defense, so it was expected for them to address those needs. GM Andrew Berry had an impressive first off-season in 2020, so everyone was waiting to see how he would follow it up. We are now five days into Free Agency and Berry has once again made some of the best signings in the entire NFL. Let’s take a look at his best signings so far.
John Johnson – Safety – 2020 team Los Angelas Rams – Grade A+
Arguably the best signing in all of Free Agency so far, John Johnson signed a 3 year deal worth $33.75 million with Cleveland, upgrading their defense substantially. Johnson was one of the best safeties in all of the football on the Rams number one ranked defense in 2020, finishing the season with an 85.6 grade per Pro Football Focus. One thing to note is that Johnson took less money to come to play for the Browns, calling it “an opportunity of a lifetime.” That speaks volumes to what Andrew Berry and the company are building in Cleveland.
Rashard Higgins – Wide Receiver – 2020 team Cleveland Browns – Grade A
A lot of Browns fans were convinced that Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins would end up signing with another team. The Browns have so much money tied up in wide receiver already between Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry, so it was going to be hard to give Higgins the money he deserves. What it came down to is that Rashard loves Cleveland, the fans, and Baker Mayfield. He wants to be there. Andrew Berry brought him back on a 1 year $2.38 million dollar deal and he is expected to have a bigger role in the offense this Fall after he balled out in 2020.
Troy Hill – Cornerback – 2020 Team Los Angelas Rams – Grade B+
Signing Troy Hill was a knock out of the park for Andrew Berry. The Browns lost Terrance Mitchell and Kevin Johnson to Free Agency, so there was a hole to fill. Not only does Hill fill that hole, but he’s a big improvement over his predecessors. Hill had three defensive touchdowns in 2020 and can play in the slot and outside. His versatility is a big reason why Cleveland wanted him.
Anthony Walker – Linebacker – 2020 team Indianapolis Colts – Grade B
Cleveland’s linebacking corps in 2020 had some positives, but there were also loads of issues. Andrew Berry addressed that by handing Anthony Walker a 1 year deal worth $3.5 million. Walker is a tackling machine and brings some veteran leadership to the defense overall. All-Pro linebacker and now former teammate Darius Leonard took to Twitter to express how upset he was that Walker is leaving Indy. He expressed how great he is the locker room and that the him leaving almost made him cry. Sounds like the Browns got a good one in Anthony Walker.
Takk McKinley – Defensive End – 2020 team Atlanta Falcons – Grade B-
The signing of Takk McKinley is the definition of a “low risk, potential high reward” signing. The former 1st round pick has tremendous talent, but has yet to break out as a star in the NFL. There have been plenty of flashes during his career and Andrew Berry is a huge fan of him. He tried to trade for Takk and claim him off waivers twice last year. There is a chance that Takk doesn’t produce at a high level and is gone after one year. But at 25 years old, if he does break out, the Browns could have a great edge rusher to compliment Myles Garrett.