Browns Sign Former First-Round Cornerback

Getty The Browns have signed CB Kevin Johnson.

The Cleveland Browns have added another member to their defense, bringing in former Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills corner Kevin Johnson on a one-year deal.

Johnson’s deal is for one year and $3.5 million. He can make as much as $6 million via incentives, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. 

Johnson, the No. 16 overall pick in the 2015 draft, spent the first four seasons of his career with the Texans before signing with the Buffalo Bills last season. Johnson played on 32.4 percent of the Bills defense snaps last season and also contributed on special teams.

His best year came as a rookie, when he started 10 games in Houston. Johnson recorded 54 tackles and recorded the only interception of his career.

Johnson played in just one game in 2018, missing time with a severe concussion.

Johnson Joins Young Browns Corners Greedy Williams, Denzel Ward

GettyBrowns corner Denzel Ward.

Johnson is expected to play the nickel cornerback role for the Browns and sit behind second-year starter Greedy Williams and third-year CB Denzel Ward. 

After being selected No. 4 overall in the 2018 draft, Ward made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, establishing himself as a top corner in the league. The Ohio State product collected three interceptions, 11 passes defensed, a forced fumble and 36 tackles.

However, he was hampered by injury during his sophomore season in the NFL, starting 12 games. Ward had a pair of interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown.

Williams was projected to be a first-round pick last year, but dropped to the second round, where the Browns picked him up. The former LSU standout won the starting role, but also dealt with his share of injuries. He did, however, put to bed any concerns of his tackling, collecting 47 tackles.

New defensive coordinator Joe Woods expressed excitement this offseason to work with the Browns talented line and secondary.

“I think our front is very good and is very talented,” Woods said during his introductory news conference, per Canton Rep. “It’s going to be our job as coaches to get them to play as good as they can and to their ability level.

“The back end, we have some young corners. I have coached corners my whole career, and the back end, when you have some young, talented corners, that excites you.”

Browns Add Multiple Players on 1-Year Contracts

GettyNew Browns linebacker B.J. Goodson.

The Browns are opting to go shorter on deals because multiple cornerstone players will need new deals in the coming years.

Johnson was the fourth new member of the defense added on a one-year deal. Previously, the Browns added defensive tackle Andrew Billings, linebacker B.J. Goodson, and safety Karl Joseph, who Johnson joins in the secondary.

Joseph, a former first-rounder as well, filled a major need for the Browns. Morgan Burnett, Juston Burris and Eric Murray are all not going to be back next season. Last season’s safety, Damarious Randall, is an unrestricted free agent as well, but has yet to sign anywhere.

Joseph started at least eight games every season while with the Raiders, including nine his rookie year. Last season, Joseph had started all nine games before a foot injury ended his season.

In 41 career starts, Joseph has 236 total tackles, four interceptions and 15 passes defended. His coverage skills could use work, but Joseph is a solid in the box safety that isn’t scared to make a tackle.

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