League-wide free agency begins March 13th. The Browns have stated all along they prefer to build the team through the draft, but will take a look at the players available in free agency. Previously we looked at the receivers available. Then a glance at the linebackers. Next, we stared longingly at offensive tackles before finishing last week with quarterbacks. Today, we look at the pass rush specialists on the d-line.
Last year the Browns sought to improve their struggling defensive line through the draft, selecting DT Phil Taylor and DE Jabaal Sheard. Both players were starters from week 1 and lived up to their draft status. Combined with Ahtyba Rubin, the Browns have three-fourths of a great defensive line in place. The Browns were disappointed in DE Jayme Mitchell, and are expected to replace him.
It is entirely possible that they do that through the draft, but could use free agency to fill the spot as well. There are plenty of candidates.
Calais Campbell (ARZ) 72 tk, 8 sacks, 7 tfl
Vonnie Holliday (ARZ) 16 tk, 0 sacks, 4 tfl
John Abraham (ATL) 35 tk, 9.5 sacks, 4 tfl
Kroy Biermann (ATL) 37 tk, 2.5 sacks, 1 tfl
Cory Redding (BAL) 43 tk, 4.5 sacks, 6 tfl
Israel Idonije (CHI) 52 tk, 5 sacks, 6 tfl
Victor Adeyanju (CIN) no stats accumulated
Frostee Rucker (CIN) 44 tk, 4 sacks, 6 tfl
Marcus Benard (CLE) 3 tk, 0.5 sacks, 0 tfl Restricted FA
Clifton Geathers (DAL) no stats accumulated Exclusive Rights FA
Derrick Harvey (DEN) 4 tk, 0 sacks, 0 tfl
Jason Hunter (DEN) 21 tk, 1 sack, 2 tfl
Cliff Avril (DET) 36 tk, 11 sacks, 2 tfl
Tim Bulman (HOU) 12 tk, 0 sacks, 0tfl
Mario Williams (HOU) 11 tk, 5 sacks, 0 tfl
Jamaal Anderson (IND) 24 tk, 3 sacks, 1 tfl
Tyler Brayton (IND) 27 tk, 2 sacks, 1 tfl
Robert Mathis (IND) 43 tk, 9.5 sacks, 4 tfl
Jeremy Mincey (JAC) 57 tk, 8 sacks, 4 tfl
Matt Roth (JAC) 24 tk, 3.5 sacks, 3 tfl
Wallace Gilberry (KC) 10 tk, 2.5 sacks, 0 tfl
Kendall Langford (MIA) 20 tk, 0 sacks, 1 tfl
Phillip Merling (MIA) 4 tk, 0 sacks, 0 tfl
Igor Olshansky (MIA) 7 tk, 0 sacks, 1 tfl
Mark Anderson (NE) 29 tk, 10 sacks, 1 tfl
Andre Carter (NE) 52 tk, 10 sacks, 5 tfl
Shaun Ellis (NE) 14 tk, 1 sack, 1 tfl
Eric Moore (NE) no stats accumulated
Jeff Charleston (NO) 9 tk, 1 sack, 0 tfl
Turk McBride (NO) 4 tk, 2 sacks, 0 tfl
Dave Tollefson (NYG) 21 tk, 5 sacks, 0 tfl
Jarvis Moss (OAK) 16 tk, 1.5 sacks, 1 tfl
Trevor Scott (OAK) 7 tk, 0 sacks, 1 tfl
Victor Abiamiri (PHI) no stats accumulated
Juqua Parker (PHI) 10 tk, 1.5 sacks, 0 tfl
Aaron Smith (PIT) 8 tk, 0 sacks, 0 tfl
Raheem Brock (SEA) 28 tk, 3 sacks, 1 tfl
Anthony Hargrove (SEA) 18 tk, 3 sacks, 2 tfl
Will Tukuafu (SF) 2 tk, 0 sacks, 0 tfl Exclusive Rights FA
C.J. Ah You (STL) 6 tk, 1 sack, 1 tfl Restricted FA
Michael Bennett (TB) 39 tk, 4 sacks, 9 tfl Restricted FA
Jovan Haye (TB) 2 tk, 0 sacks, 0 tfl
Dave Ball (TEN) 36 tk, 4 sacks, 4 tfl
William Hayes (TEN) 16 tk, 1.5 sacks, 3 tfl
Adam Carriker (WAS) 34 tk, 5.5 sacks, 0 tfl
Kedric Golston (WAS) 16 tk, 1.5 sacks, 0 tfl
There has already been discussions around the Cleveland inter-webs and even among media types about the Browns trying to bring in Mario Williams. There have been comparisons drawn between this situation and when Holmgren brought in Reggie White to anchor the Green Bay defense. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be all for a front four of Williams, Taylor, Rubin and Sheard. That’s a scary defensive line. I do think that it would probably be wiser for the Browns to look at a slightly less expensive option though.
I see value in this list. As with the other positions mentioned, many of these players are going to get rewarded handsomely by their own clubs, but I think there could be some leftover goodies to be plucked. Take a look at that situation in New England. They will have to pony up some cash to keep their group in tact.
Don’t expect Campbell or Avril to hit the market however. They are certain to be franchised players if they don’t come to terms.
Who would you like to see the Browns target? Is $23 million too much to spend on Mario Williams? Would you rather them go after a DE in the draft?