Browns Sign Former Packers, Giants Inside Linebacker

Getty New Browns linebacker B.J. Goodson.

The Cleveland Browns have a new middle linebacker, agreeing to terms with former Green Bay Packers starter B.J. Goodson.

Tom Pelissero of first reported the news that the sides had agreed on terms, dubbing Goodson as the Browns next “starting middle linebacker” in their 4-3 system.

Goodson played 254 snaps last season on defense in Green Bay and also contributed on special teams. He started nine of his 15 games with the Packers, finishing with 37 tackles. He started 20 games in the two previous seasons combined with the New York Giants. Goodson totaled 114 tackles in those games.

The details of the deal were not immediately available, but it’s reportedly for just one year, per Mary Kay Cabot of

Goodson Has Big Shoes to Fill at Linebacker for Browns

GettyBrowns linebacker Joe Schobert celebrates with teammates.

The Browns had a big hole in their defense having moved on from veteran linebackers Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert. Both have found new homes.

Schobert landed in Jacksonville on a five-year contract with $22.5 million guaranteed. The deal is worth a total of $53.75 million. The Browns reportedly weren’t willing to pay Schobert that kind of money to keep him on board.

Schobert made 133 tackles last season, leading the Browns. He also snagged four interceptions and collected a pair of sacks. It was his third season in a row with triple-digit tackles, totaling 104 in 2018 and 144 during a Pro Bowl campaign in 2017.

Kirksey inked a two-year, $16 million contract with Green Bay. When healthy, Kirksey was a high-producing talent. He had 138 tackles in 2017 and 148 the year prior to that. He had 484 tackles, 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions during his time with the Browns.

Torch was Passed to Mack Wilson From Kirksey

Packers Interested in Schobert

GettyJoe Schobert  of the Cleveland Browns celebrates with Mack Wilson and T.J. Carrie.

Following the news of the Browns letting Schobert and Kirksey walk, Mack Wilson — a second-year linebacker out of Alabama — sent a firm message through a social media post.

“Never ran from no challenge,” Wilson wrote. “Just put it in front of me and watch what i do!”

In 14 starts last season in relief of an injured Kirksey, Wilson collected 82 tackles. He still can improve, but showed a high enough ceiling last year that the Browns new regime will want to see what he can do. Sione Takitaki, a third-round pick in 2019, could also compete for a larger role in the defense.

The release of Kirksey hit Wilson hard.

“Kirko was my OG. Y’all wouldn’t understand everywhere I was on the practice field and the games he was watching me. Always corrected me in a positive way,” Wilson wrote on social media. “Thank you so much for taking me under your wings. Love forever big bro.”

Kirksey responded to Mack, saying: “Lil bro! Its forever love with me. Its your time now bro! Be great like I know you will! The sky is the limit for you. The torch is passed!! Love u bro.”

Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods has said the team is planning to stick with a 4-3 scheme.

“I think you want to make sure that you’re putting the guys that you have in the right position to make plays,” Woods said. “I know the personnel here is tailored toward a 4-3 scheme, which I’m very comfortable with. We’ll stay with the 4-3 system here and focus on putting the guys in the right positions to make plays.”

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