NFL free agency will be here next week and the Cleveland Browns are expected to be very active as they look to take the next step as a franchise.
The official time for free agency is 4 p.m. March 15 but the negotiating window opens March 13 at noon.
Free agency hasn’t always been very kind to the Browns as they’ve had their fair share of misses. But with the Browns playoff chances above 50%, they might only need to add one or two players to get back to the tournament. At least that is the hope of Browns fans and the new crop of Ohio sports betting enthusiasts.
BetOhio.com – home of top-flight info on Ohio sports betting apps - is focusing on the two NFL teams in the Buckeye State as they head into the important free agency period. We also will look at picks at free agents who succeeded or failed for the Browns as well as take an early glance at 2023 odds for the team.
Dissecting Browns Position Needs
The Browns have quite a few players scheduled to hit free agency, including QB Jacoby Brissett, RB Kareem Hunt and DE Jadeveon Clowney. All three players are expected to leave.
The team also could lose a few other key contributors such as C Ethan Pocic and CB Greedy Williams. The Browns are also expected to release S John Johnson III, who they signed in free agency in 2021. Unfortunately, that move did not pan out as expected, as Johnson was never a great fit in Joe Woods’ defense.
Who are a few players the Browns could target in free agency? And what position might they attack? The obvious answer is defensive tackle, as the Browns fielded one of the worst interior defensive lines in the NFL last season. Javon Hargrave is expected to be the top free-agent defensive tackle on the list, but he just turned 30 years old and might be a tad too expensive for the Browns.
Instead, look for them to add a quality run defender, such as Dalvin Tomlinson or Greg Gains. Both would be significant upgrades at defensive tackle and neither would break the bank. Don’t be surprised if the Browns hit this position multiple times as they need to completely rebuild their interior defensive line.
The Browns are also expected to be in the pass rusher market as Clowney won’t return in 2023. Cleveland could look for another one-year rental to pair with Myles Garrett and there are plenty of options. Justin Houston, Melvin Ingram and Robert Quinn all could be had at fair value this offseason, but don’t be shocked if the Browns decide to look for a player who can help beyond 2023.
Marcus Davenport of the Saints seems like a great fit at just 27 years old. He has the size and athleticism that the Browns covet. He’s likely to cost $15 million a year in free agency, but this would give the Browns a legitimate No. 2 rusher opposite of Garrett for the next several seasons.
The only other big need for the Browns will be at safety. They just need more impact players on that side of the ball. They really could use a dynamic safety who can play all over the field. Luckily for Cleveland, this free-agent class is loaded with options.
One of the best players on the board is Donovan Wilson of the Dallas Cowboys, who totaled 101 tackles and nine QB hits in 2022. He’s at his best near the line of scrimmage as he’s proven to be a ferocious tackler and one of the best blitzing safeties in the league. Adding him to this defense could help take the Browns to the next level.
While the Browns don't have a ton of cap space (right now), expect them to make several moves to get under the cap and add some veteran talent to their roster. They just need one or two free-agent signings to hit to be real contenders in the AFC North again.
Browns and Free Agency
BetOhio.com looks at the good and bad in free agency by the Cleveland Browns. Look at the site also for Ohio sportsbook promos.
Free Agent Hits
Free Agent Misses
What Do Oddsmakers Expect from 2023 Browns?
Caesars Ohio Sportsbook has the Browns as the third pick in the AFC North at +390, ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers (+550) but behind the Cincinnati Bengals (+130) and Baltimore Ravens (+240). The Browns Super Bowl odds are +4000, per Caesars Sportsbook Ohio, a five-way tie for 16th place.
FanDuel Ohio Sportsbook also has the Browns (+430) as the third choice in the AFC North, with the Bengals leading at +135.