Cleveland Browns Free Agency Predictions 2024: Trusted Backup QB and DL Depth on Browns’ Agenda

While Deshaun Watson will be Cleveland's starting quarterback in 2024, our Browns free agency predictions include a veteran QB2 addition.

The Cleveland Browns made it back to the playoffs in 2023, with an elite defensive performance mitigating the club’s injury-induced carousel under center. It was a successful season for the Browns, as Myles Garrett took home Defensive Player of the Year, Kevin Stefanski won Coach of the Year, and DC Jim Schwartz was named the NFL‘s best coordinator.

Can Cleveland take another step in 2024? Free agency will allow Stefanksi and general manager Andrew Berry to bolster the Browns’ roster before the club competes for the AFC North crown next season. Here’s how Cleveland’s decision-makers could approach the coming weeks.

Cleveland Browns Free Agency Predictions

Find Another Reliable Backup QB

Deshaun Watson’s fully guaranteed contract will keep him in place as the Browns’ starting quarterback entering 2024. But it’s hard to imagine Cleveland feels confident about Watson, who battled multiple injuries last season and appeared in just six games.

Watson, signed through 2026, posted a 42.9 QBR, which would have ranked just 23rd in the league if he’d had enough passing attempts to qualify. Even if he can stay on the field next season, Watson is hardly guaranteed to return to the highs he experienced with the Houston Texans.

With a playoff-caliber roster in hand, the Browns need to have a QB contingency plan. Last season, Cleveland went through Dorian Thompson-Robinson and P.J. Walker before landing on November addition Joe Flacco, who threw 13 touchdowns across five regular-season starts.

The Browns want Flacco back, but he’s expected to test the free agent market. If he moves on, Cleveland must consider another veteran signal-caller to play behind Watson.

Jacoby Brissett thrived as the Browns’ replacement for Watson in 2022, finishing ahead of Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert in QBR. He’s a free agent again this offseason and could be interested in a reunion.

Cleveland might also consider options like Gardner Minshew II, who nearly guided the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs after taking over for injured rookie QB Anthony Richardson, or Ryan Tannehill, who might not have a chance at a starting job on the open market.

Add an Experienced LB Like Frankie Luvu

Cleveland’s defense was historically elite last season, and many of the unit’s key pieces will return in 2024. However, linebacker is one potential area of concern, as Sione Takitaki, Anthony Walker Jr., and three depth assets are hitting free agency.

The Browns tried to find a veteran LB to pair with incumbent Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah during the 2022 campaign when they acquired Deion Jones from the Falcons. That move didn’t work out, but targeting Frankie Luvu might.

A late-career breakout, Luvu was primarily a special teamer at the beginning of his NFL career but has since become a dominant force at the second level. He’s effective as a blitzer and in coverage and would give Cleveland one of the most athletic LB tandems in the league.

Re-Stock the Defensive Line

With Garrett leading the way, the Browns’ defensive line finished top 10 in sacks (49), pressure rate (23.8%), and QB knockdown rate (10.8%) in 2023. But Cleveland’s front could look different after free agency.

On the edge, Za’Darius Smith will reach free agency and could depart for another team. The Browns still have last year’s free agent addition, Ogbo Okoronwko, on their roster, while former third-round pick Alex Wright could take a step forward in Year 3. But Cleveland could still consider options on the market.

On the interior, Dalvin Tomlinson will return next season after a solid Browns debut. However, Shelby Harris, Maurice Hurst, and Jordan Elliott — all of whom played at least 300 snaps in 2023 — are pending free agents.

KEEP READING: Browns 2024 Free Agents

Veteran Denico Autry might interest Cleveland, given his ability to play various roles along a defensive front. He can align on the edge or at defensive tackle, depending on the Browns’ needs.

Meanwhile, new Cleveland defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire spent the past two seasons with the Houston Texans and could bring some of his former charges north. Sheldon Rankins and Teair Tart are among the free agent Texans who could make sense for the Browns.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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