Saturday, June 25, 2022

Browns in the market for the 3-time All-Pro, Super Bowl champion-defender

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A true NFL ironman remains available as a free agent, and he happens to play the one position the Cleveland Browns need to improve on the most.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the past three seasons and won a Super Bowl ring with the franchise in 2020. But it seems the 34-year-old won’t take long to South Florida after the Bucs added Akiem Hicks late last month.

Conflicting reports have the Browns pursuing Suh to bolster a defensive front that’s arguably the team’s weakest unit, even despite a fierce pass rush from All-Pro Myles Garrett and recently newly signed Jadeveon Clowney to push Suh back in favor a different approach.

The latest report from Anthony Poisal, a staff writer working for the Browns’ official website, suggests Cleveland remains strong in the mix for Suh’s services.

Based on previous reports from NFL insiders and the Browns’ beat coverage, Cleveland has alternately run hot and cold on Suh.

A little over a month ago, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell predicted that Suh would end up in a Browns uniform next season simply because the team is so hungry for consistent, experienced leadership in this part of the field.

“Suh may not be the mutual force we saw during his time with the [Detroit] Lions and the Bucs have taken care to bring his snap rate down from 77% in 2019 to 63% this past season, but he’s still a reliable internal disruptor,” Barnwell wrote. “The man just doesn’t get hurt. As a professional, Suh has not missed a single game in 12 campaigns due to injury.”

A little over two weeks ago Brad Stainbrook of the Orange and Brown Report took to Twitter to report that the Browns were retiring in their quest for the three-time All-Pro defensive tackle.

“Bucs and Raiders are still in DT Ndamukong Suh,” Stainbrook wrote. “Discussions are ongoing with Las Vegas while Tampa Bay is letting all options fade first. Browns have retired.”

Should the Browns decide to make an offer to Suh, the move would align with the aggressive approach general manager Andrew Berry has taken this offseason. Cleveland spent big bucks acquiring quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Amari Cooper, as well as tying cornerback Denzel Ward and tight end David Njoku for years to come.

Due to fancy financial maneuvers, the Browns still have more than $42 million in cap space to spend this offseason. As Poisal noted Monday, the two areas where that money would make the most difference are on the inside defensive end and adding another weapon for Watson as a wide receiver.

Suh’s earnings averaged just over $9 million over his three seasons at Tampa Bay, and it’s hard to argue that a similar deal wouldn’t be well spent for the 34-year-old in Cleveland. Never missing a start as a member of the Bucs, Suh accumulated 112 tackles, including 23 tackles for loss, 46 quarterback hits and 14.5 sacks during his tenure with the team, according to Pro Football Reference.

Meanwhile, the Browns have been cutting bait with their two starting defensive tackles of 2021, Malik Jackson and Malik McDowell.

Taven Bryan, former Jacksonville Jaguars first-round pick who signed as a free agent with Cleveland, and third-year lineman Jordan Elliott will take over the starting roles. The Browns also drafted University of Oklahoma’s Perrion Winfrey this year to strengthen the line.

If signed, Suh would walk into the Browns’ locker room and be the man from day one, bringing a fearsome quality and cachet to the positional group that was clearly lacking last season.

Taven Bryan, former Jacksonville Jaguars first-round pick who signed as a free agent with Cleveland, and third-year lineman Jordan Elliott will take over the starting roles. The Browns also drafted University of Oklahoma’s Perrion Winfrey this year to strengthen the line.



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