Cleveland Browns Offseason Preview 2023: Free Agents, Cut Candidates, and Team Needs

A first look at the Cleveland Browns' 2023 offseason, with a rundown of their free agents, cut candidates, cap space, and team needs.

The Cleveland Browns are out of the playoffs for the 30th time in the last 33 Januarys. They have questions up and down their roster — along with a coaching staff that didn’t exactly maximize the talent that was there.

So what’s next for Cleveland? We preview the Browns’ 2023 offseason, looking at their free agents, cut candidates, and team needs.

Cleveland Browns Offseason Preview: A Critical Winter

Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry went all-in on Deshaun Watson last spring, knowing that they’d need to pay him the most guaranteed money in NFL history, knowing the trade would eat up their draft capital, and knowing he faced a long suspension after being the subject of dozens of sexual misconduct lawsuits.

That decision hasn’t exactly panned out — yet. The Browns didn’t win enough games when Jacoby Brissett filled in for a suspended Watson, and Watson didn’t play nearly well enough upon returning from his two-year NFL exile.

Watson will presumably be better in 2023 than he was in limited 2022 work. But will the rest of the roster? The Browns’ run defense needs a big-time upgrade, and Amari Cooper needs some help on the outside.

That is easier said than done, however. The Browns are cap-poor, and they sent their first-round pick to Houston in the Watson swap.

Browns’ 2023 Salary Cap Space

According to Spotrac, the Browns, as of December, were over the 2023 salary cap by $5.8 million, giving them the ninth-worst situation in the NFL.

That figure includes $4 million in dead cap and $27.4 million in rollover space. It’s based on an estimated $225 million NFL salary cap in 2023.

The exact cap figure will not be known until the NFL announces it in early March.

Browns Free Agents 2023

The following Browns players are set to hit free agency. (Restricted free agents are noted with the abbreviation RFA; exclusive rights free agents by ERFA.)

  • QB Jacoby Brissett
  • TE Pharaoh Brown
  • DT Taven Bryan
  • DE Jadeveon Clowney
  • OT Michael Dunn
  • CB Thomas Graham Jr.
  • CB A.J. Green
  • S Ronnie Harrison
  • OT Chris Hubbard
  • RB Kareem Hunt
  • TE Jesse James
  • RB D’Ernest Johnson
  • ILB Deion Jones
  • LB Jordan Kunaszyk
  • DE Chris Odom
  • C Ethan Pocic
  • DT Ben Stille
  • LB Sione Takitaki
  • ILB Anthony Walker Jr.
  • DE Stephen Weatherly
  • CB Greedy Williams
  • DE Chase Winovich

Running Back Kareem Hunt

Spotrac’s calculated market value: Two years, $6.9 million

Overview: Hunt and Nick Chubb have, for the last few years, made up the best 1-2 RB punch (or more accurately, 2-1 punch) in the NFL. But it’s time for Hunt to again spread his wings and be a team’s featured back.

After racking up 453 carries in his career’s first two seasons (both spent with the Kansas City Chiefs), Hunt had fewer than 200 carries in each of his next four (spent with the Browns). While Hunt’s efficiency was off his career average in 2022, he should still have plenty of tread left on the tire.

Potential Cut Candidates

  • WR Jakeem Grant ($2.6 million in savings)
  • OT Joe Haeg ($2.5 million)
  • S Grant Delpit ($1.7 million)

Browns’ Team Needs Heading Into 2023 Offseason

  • Defensive Tackle
  • EDGE
  • Wide Receiver
  • Linebacker
  • Safety

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