(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
The Cleveland Browns aren’t messing around this offseason.
After making some prominent hirings to their coaching staff, NFL insider Mike Garafolo reported that the team is ready to move on from safety John Johnson III.
The #Browns will release S John Johnson III at the start of the league year on March 15, barring a trade, sources say. Johnson was entering the final year of a three-year contract he signed as a free agent in 2021.
Still young at 27, he’ll have interest once free. pic.twitter.com/lQ9odcg5Py
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 28, 2023
Garafolo stated that the Browns would cut ties with him once the league year begins on March 15 if they can’t find a trade partner by that time, and it’s hard to say this is surprising.
Johnson was set to make nearly $10 million in the final year of the three-year contract he signed, albeit the money wasn’t guaranteed.
Also, he came with a $13.5 million cap hit, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to keep him on the roster beyond March 15, especially given his history of inconsistency and underperformance, so some fans were actually relieved to hear the news.
this dude was all talk and took no accountability for anything. i’m glad he’s gone
— eriK (@efrisco_) February 28, 2023
Let’s. Go. pic.twitter.com/swMBuHHfPZ
— Joey Keller (@joeyOkeller) February 28, 2023
Not a good sign if the browns don’t want you.
— Andy (@drewgunns) February 28, 2023
Johnson was expected to be a star for the Browns defense, signing a three-year deal worth nearly $34 million after a prominent start to his career with the Los Angeles Rams.
However, he never actually panned out for the Browns and was often caught lacking effort and doing more talking than actually producing.
Still, he’s just 27 years old and has all the physical tools to be an impactful playmaker in the league, so we wouldn’t be shocked to see multiple teams make a cautious approach in the offseason.
As for the Browns, they’re likely to be on the market for a safety in the next couple of weeks, with division rival Jessie Bates III as a rumored potential target.
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