NFL Free Agents: Defensive Ends


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

Robert Mathis

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?

  • Anonymous

    i am strongly in favor of only spending elite $$ on elite talents.   Mario Williams is an elite talent.  a #1 overall NFL pick that lived up to the pick (despite cries in Houston for VY and Reggie when he was drafted).

    someone mentioned earlier:    if we had drafted Mario and it took $20mil+ to sign him, then would we think it was worth it?  most likely.  so, why is it any different when he’s a FA?

    i doubt it happens.  really, really doubt it.  but having that DL + finding a rotational DT in the draft would make our defense legit.  like, real legit.  best DL in the AFCN w/o question, possibly best in the AFC and one that comes into discussion at least for best in the NFL.    SF and NYG both had elite DLs.  I’m all in favor.

    (also, this list has alot of intriguing options.  hard to say how many actually hit the market.  really want it to get closer to FA so we can have the “real” list)

  • Anonymous

    If (1) the front office doesn’t intend to dabble much in FA this year, as they have indicated they won’t, and (2) if we draft to rectify the unmitigated disaster that we have in the WR corps, and (3) if we only sign one serious FA, please, please let it be Williams.  Under those (not unrealistic) circumstances, $23 million is not too much to spend.  I would still like to see them bring in a FA QB rather than drafting one, however, so that changes the equation a bit. 

    Other than that, I’d like to see them sign Ah You, for no other reason than it would make my angry in-game expletives so much more entertaining when he invariably misses a tackle or assignment.  (Though Frostee Rucker would also bring some serious value to the table in terms of name-calling.) 

  • Anonymous

    Oh, and I definitely think we need to keep Benard – but we need to make sure he hasn’t dropped 150 lbs believing that he was designated to replace Phil Dawson.  (One of my older jokes that has never garnered so much as a chuckle, but I really like it and am going to continue to go with it.)

  • Malice

    Damn the thought of Mario Williams joining that D-Line is just amazing. I’ve been hoping they’d look at Coples with the 4th pick but if Williams were brought in it makes taking Blackmon that much easier.

  • Harv 21

    So tempting to splurge here because a dominant front not only increases the effectiveness of each of those guys but can hide a multiplicity of sins behind them, particularly their lack of that impact linebacker. Mario Williams would instantly make the line the strength and identity of the team, collapsing the pocket. Imagine Ben and Dalton and Flacco all jittery all the time … 

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Mario Williams, Rubin, Taylor, and Sheard up front.  That would be fun to watch.  I say if they have no intention of spending big money on a free agent QB,  make it happen.   

  • Anonymous

    For the right price, I wouldn’t mind signing Dave Tollefson.  He always struck me as an underrated player, although he’s nearing 30 years old.

  • Anonymous

    it may be w/o recognition, but it’s gotten chuckles.  keep the running joke alive (and I hear it’s running faster now that it’s shed the weight)

  • oribiasi

    I think everyone in the league wants Mario William.  We’d have to over-spend to get him to want to play for the Browns.  As much as I’d love to have him, it’s probably not going to happen.

  • BillTheHammer

    If you guys could do you think you could throw in the ages as well with this. We all know some of these guys will be eliminated quickly because of age with this front office

  • Jaker

    I would go all in on Williams, which would then allow Heckert to focus on O in the Draft. Maybe go with Blackmon/Tannehill in the 1st, or Griffin/Floyd, whatever your choice. But bringing in Williams would make a statement like “The Browns are for real. They aren’t taking a back seat to anyone in the AFC anymore, let alone their own division.” Yeah, I could get used to that.

    Plan 2: Sign Mathis to a short term deal, he would be great to teach Sheard, who is very comparable in size and style. I think there is still a few good seasons left in him, like 8 sack seasons for 5 mil a year? I think that would be worth it.

    Other than those two, there are plenty out there. I expect H&H to bring in at least one new D-Lineman, either in FA or the Draft.

  • BenRM

    Why not just trade all our draft picks, move up, and select RG3 to play both ways at QB and D-End?

  • Mark Skog

    What about Robert Mathis? With Indy switching to the 3-4, will they keep him? Is he going to be able to make that transition? I really don’t know the answers so I’m genuinely curious if he’d be worth looking at.

  • Lucas Vaas

    dave ball seems like he had a nice year…

  • Mansoor Khan

    I think the guy the Browns are most likely to sign will be Kory Bierman. He’s the guy who played opposite John Abraham for the Falcons before they signed Ray Edwards. He’s a young guy, maybe 26, and he had a huge play against us last year when he picked off Delhomme. 

  • Ctowndawgpound

    Would love to to see the Rapist,Red Headed Step Child and Fu Man Chu running for their lives!!!!

  • Bobby

    I dont think Williams is likely to happen, but if he were the only guy we brought in I would be very happy with that. I would not be upset with a big-time contract at all. 

  • Mike Baceda

    Does anyone like Andre Carter?  I think he would be a great FA pickup and we can use the draft to complete a OL, LB and WR.  We have room remaining so perhaps that could be spent on some depth on the DL.

  • Bobby

     I wouldnt mind either of the ends from NE (Carter or Anderson). I think either one of them could hit the open market. Also Carriker from Washington would be an interesting guy to look at, potentially on the lower end of the money spectrum.

  • Anonymous

     We don’t need another DT if we keep the guys we have in Rubin, Taylor, Schaefering, and Paxson. Don’t forget Week 13 in Pit that the latter two (the backups/rotation guys) were the ones to put a crippling on Rapistburger. We just need a DE to compliment Sheard. Maybe Benard is the guy, but Mitchell is a backup at best.

  • Anonymous

    Imagine if Cleveland got 2 solid d-ends through free agency and then drafted db claiborne in the draft. If we signed Calais Campbell and John Abraham(I know he’s old but still good and we could rotate him a lot with depth) and then took a flier on quentin groves (who is outside linebacker/defensive end) If we picked up one more solid defensive player we would arguably have the best defense in league. If groves does not work out who cares because he is worth a chance and if he did work out we would have incredible depth. We could have 5 or 6 all pros on our defense. Haden, Claiborne, Ward, Rubin, Taylor, Cambell and maybe even more.

  • MIKE

    It doesnt hurt to want.

  • Nomorewhodey

    This dude is cream of the crop and fills a major need. Mitchell not even in same galaxy as Mario. Signing him would be the biggest signing in browns history. Do it and do it fast. Will provide something the browns have not seen since returning.