CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Oh darn, J.J. Watt signed with the Arizona Cardinals.
What on earth will Andrew Berry and the Browns do now?
Now that we got that out of our system, Watt, who is 32 and has missed 32 games since 2016 with injuries, may have done the Browns a solid by passing on them Monday for two years and $31 million with Arizona.
While the Browns didn’t land the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-Pro, Berry has plenty of options to shore up the pass rush in free agency, including each of the teams within the AFC North giving him the opportunity to poach from them to find Robin to Myles Garrett’s Batman up front.
Yannick Ngakoue, Baltimore Ravens – The 25-year-old acquired by the Ravens from Minnesota in the middle of last season has started 70 of 78 games played over his first five NFL seasons where he has racked up 45.5 sacks, 96 QB hits, 49 tackles for loss, 18 forced fumbles, 10 pass breakups and three fumble recoveries. He is the biggest name on the board available, which means he’s also going to be the most expensive so don’t get your hopes up.
Carl Lawson, Cincinnati Bengals – Also 25, Lawson enters his fifth NFL season after playing 68% of the Bengals’ defensive snaps in 2020 and started 11 games. The defensive end is an up and comer, and just the type of player Berry and the front office might be looking for. He has 20.0 sacks, 83 QB hits and 19 tackles for loss in 51 games played.
Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh Steelers – The outside linebacker is 28 and still in the sweet spot of his NFL career heading into his seventh season in 2021. In 81 games, 66 starts for the Steelers Dupree has totaled 39.5 sacks, 65 QB hits, 54 tackles for loss, 11 pass breakups, eight forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and an interception.
Trey Hendrickson, New Orleans Saints – Like Lawson, the 26-year-old defensive end had a breakout season in his fourth with the Saints that saw him start 15 games and rack up 13.5 sacks along with 25 QB hits and a dozen tackles for loss in 2020. His career totals: 45 games, 18 starts, 20 sacks, 43 QB hits, 18 tackles for loss, the forced fumbles and pass breakups. Hendrickson is another ‘right up Berry’s ally’ type of player.
Melvin Ingram, Los Angeles Chargers – Ingram, 31, has played both outside linebacker and defensive end with the Chargers and been productive at both spots but he is coming off a knee injury that limited him to just seven games in 2020 where he did not register a sack, had five QB hits, a pair of pass breakups and an interception. In nine seasons Ingram has 49.0 sacks, 108 QB hits, 70 tackles for loss, 28 pass breakups, 14 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and three interceptions in 118 games, 96 starts.
Shelby Harris, Denver Broncos – Harris, 29, doesn’t have gaudy career stats but when on the field in recent years he’s been effective which puts him on Berry’s radar as a potential sneaky good value signing. Last season Harris played 11 games and ended the season on IR with a knee injury. He and his family also battled COVID-19. Harris was among the league leaders among defensive linemen with seven pass breakups. In 67 career games, 33 starts he has totaled 16.5 sacks, 35 QB hits, 28 tackles for loss, 23 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Leonard Floyd, Los Angeles Rams – An outside linebacker, the 28-year-old enters his sixth NFL season in 2021. He’s started all 16 games in each of the three previous years and 70 games total over five seasons where he’s amassed 29.0 sacks, 63 QB hits, 37 tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups, five fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, two safeties and an interception.
Shaquil Barrett’s situation with Tampa Bay is worth monitoring but it’s likely he’ll stay with the Super Bowl champs.