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2024 Browns Free Agency Frenzy: Defensive End

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By: Barry Shuck

Photo by Jeff Dean/Getty Images

Cleveland needs a Myles Garrett bookend – again?

The Cleveland Browns have tried to find a bookend EDGE rusher opposite Myles Garrett. Last year it was Za’Darius Smith who had some double-digit sack years previously, just not with Cleveland although he had good numbers with pressures and QB hits. Before that, it was Jadevious Clowney and before that, it was Olivier Vernon, and before that Emmanuel Ogbah.

What would be great is if the Browns would sign EDGE rusher Josh Allen of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the third highest-rated free agent this year. He had 17.5 sacks in 2023. But would Berry pay the asking price of $108 million? And then give Allen a long-term deal of five years? Myles Garrett makes just over $20 million a year, which means Allen would be getting Myles Garrett money.

The same goes for Brian Burns of the Carolina Panthers. Would love to have him, but will Berry pay the same as Allen and Garrett? If yes, then, welcome aboard!

Currently, ZDS is a free agent and Berry may indeed re-sign him going forward. This would allow Alex Wright, Isaiah McGuire, Ogbo Okoronkwo, and Sam Kamara the ability to rotate in.


Berry has filled this outside pass rusher role during free agency, and perhaps this year this will become the norm once again.

When Berry signed ZDS last off-season, he came to Cleveland on a one-year contract and Berry paid him $11.677 million. Could Berry go higher than this for 2024? Will he find someone that doesn’t come on a one-year deal? With this in mind, this year’s suggestions shadow the $12 million a year mark that Berry set for ZDS.

Here are three possibilities for the Browns to consider at EDGE rusher that are deemed affordable:

Minnesota Vikings v Las Vegas Raiders
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

EDGE Danielle Hunter

Minnesota Vikings

6’-5”, 263 pounds

Age: 29

Free agency ranking: 12

NFL draft: 2015 Round 3, pick #88 (Vikings)

Career Pro Bowls: 4

40 time: 4.57

2023 season: Pro Bowl, 17 starts, 83 tackles, 22 QB hits, 16.5 sacks, 41 pressures, 17 hurries, 7 knockdowns, 23 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles, 2 pass defenses, 4 missed tackles

The third-ranked EDGE rusher available this year, Hunter has been named to consecutive Pro Bowls and is a beast coming off the corner. Exceptional run defense as evidenced by his 83 tackles and can flat-out get to the QB with 16.5 sacks and 41 pressures as a good barometer of his skills. Coming off two highly productive seasons. Had some injuries in his early years, but those are faint memories now.

Hunter plays fluidly in space, has long arms, and understands how to use his length. High-end tackling production who rarely misses. Energetic all-game and a thinker on the field.

If Berry really wanted to make a splash this free-agent period, Hunter’s signing would set the tone.

Projection: Three years, $50.1 million

Houston Texans v New York Jets
Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

EDGE Jonathan Greenard

Houston Texans

6’-3”, 263 pounds

Age: 26

Free agency ranking: 38

NFL draft: 2020 Round 3, pick #90 (Texans)

Career Pro Bowls: 0

40 time: 4.87

2023 season: 15 starts, 52 tackles, 22 QB hits, 12.5 sacks, 32 pressures, 9 hurries, 9 knockdowns, 15 tackles for loss, 2 pass defenses, 1 forced fumble, 5 missed tackles

Cleveland’s need for a stable pass rusher opposite Garrett is a real thing. They have attempted multiple Band-Aids, and keep re-applying another bandage the following year. Signing Greenard to a multi-year deal would eliminate the search. He is still a young man at age 26 and has his best seasons ahead of him. Exceptionally durable with his only incident being a right foot sprain in 2022. Will play through pain and suit up despite nagging issues.

With his contract year last season, Greenard made the most of it and had career highs in every statistical category. He has proven to be a very good pass rusher and is an above-average run defender. His first steps are where he gets wins and does not give up on plays.

Greenard has explosive hips and plays quick. He doesn’t stall out in any change of direction with upper body strength to punch and separate on the edge.

Projection: Three years, $40.2 million


Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

EDGE Dorance Armstrong

Dallas Cowboys

6’-4”, 255 pounds

Age: 26

Free agency ranking: 85

NFL draft: 2018 Round 4, #116 (Cowboys)

Career Pro Bowls: 0

40 time: 4.87

2023 season: 17 starts, 38 tackles, 12 QB hits, 7.5 sacks, 15 pressures, 3 hurries, 3 knockdowns, 7 tackles for loss, 1 batted pass, 1 missed tackle

One good thing happened with the Cowboys this past season, their defense was stout. Cleveland’s defense was stout as well, so Armstrong would blend in beautifully. He is a guy you probably never heard of because he is the unsung member of Dallas’ loaded defensive front.

Very versatile and can line up at all four defensive line positions, Armstrong has exceptionally long arms (34 ¾”) and has played snaps inside the tackle as well as wide nine technique. He pairs with a good bend around the edge. An asset in getting to the QB.

Armstrong plays with loose hips and can be both smooth and explosive in his movements. Possesses a consistent effort level. His contact balance is just below average and will opt for athleticism over technique at times, but he has a jarring first punch and can discard blockers.

Projection: Two years, $12.0 million

Do you think the Browns should spend on a defensive end in free agency? Which of the above 3 is the best overall option (value, talent) for the team?

Originally posted on Dawgs By Nature – All Posts