Browns Urged to Sign Massive Bears Starter to Beef Up D-Line

Goldman Possible Retirement

Getty Eddie Goldman #91 of the Chicago Bears warms up prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field on December 4, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.

The Cleveland Browns have been active this offseason, upgrading at key positions and locking down primetime performers for years to come. But the team has yet to address what is arguably its greatest weakness — the interior of its defensive line.

Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report suggested an option to remedy the Browns’ defensive front in the form of free agent nose tackle Eddie Goldman. The Chicago Bears released Goldman on March 11, five days ahead of the official opening of the 2022 NFL free agency period, after attempts to trade their long-time defender proved unsuccessful.

The Bears drafted Goldman with the 39th overall pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Since then, the 6-foot, 3-inch, 325-pound lineman has appeared in 81 of a possible 97 regular season games, starting 73 of those and proving himself one of the most stalwart members of the perennially tough Bears defensive line.

During his six years in Chicago, Goldman amassed 175 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss, recorded 13 sacks and 21 more quarterback hits, and recovered two fumbles while registering one safety, per Pro Football Reference.

As of Saturday, April 23, Malik McDowell and Jordan Elliot were listed as the two starting tackles on Cleveland’s depth chart. They have defensive player grades of 46.5 and 41.6, respectively, per Pro Football Focus (PFF) — ratings that place them well below the league average at the position. Sheldon Day and Tommy Togiai are the only other interior defenders listed on the Browns’ roster, though neither played enough last season to qualify for official grades from PFF.

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Browns Could Use Goldman’s Size Along Defensive Line

Eddie Goldman

GettyNose tackle Eddie Goldman of the Chicago Bears rushes against Jonah Jackson of the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on October 3, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Wharton laid out the argument as to why several teams should consider signing Goldman, including Cleveland, in a piece published on Friday, April 22:

Finding massive human beings who can effectively burst through an offensive line and finish sacks is one of the most difficult challenges in the NFL. At times, former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman has shown the potential to be a pro-level pass-rusher. He never developed into a consistent threat on passing downs but continued to be a rock at nose tackle until the Bears released him this offseason.

The 28-year-old may not have fit into Chicago’s rebuild, but he’s an ideal run-stuffing, space-eating force who can make things uncomfortable for opposing offenses. A surprising number of contenders could not only use a rotational body but also an outright starter. Signing Goldman could free up a draft pick for another position.

Even if some teams are devaluing their efforts to slow the run game, it’s important to not completely neglect the tackle position. Teams like [the] Tennessee [Titans], Baltimore [Ravens], Miami [Dolphins] and San Francisco [49ers] will aggressively run the ball even if it’s not efficient, and that can be a disastrous matchup in the playoffs if a roster lacks the personnel to adjust its game plan. Adding Goldman would significantly help a run defense in these matchups.

Goldman’s 325-pound frame is capable of demanding the attention of the guard and center alike. His presence frees up lanes for linebackers and blitzing safeties to hit holes at full speed. The difference between Goldman and even a serviceable nose tackle against an elite interior offensive line can swing a key game.

Wharton went on to name the Browns and the Los Angeles Chargers among the best franchise fits for Goldman in 2022.

Browns Working to Bring Back Jadeveon Clowney at Defensive End

Getty ImagesDefensive end Myles Garrett (left) of the Cleveland Browns high-fives teammate Jadeveon Clowney (right) during an NFL game.

Whether the Browns end up adding Goldman or not, the team will almost certainly address the defensive interior at some point this offseason. Whoever Cleveland decides to sign will be teaming up with All-Pro edge rusher Myles Garrett and potentially Jadeveon Clowney, as well.

Clowney hit free agency in March after signing a one-year deal worth $8 million with the Browns last season. The team offered Clowney a two-year contract worth $24 million last month after he tallied nine sacks in 2021 while playing alongside Garrett.

Garrett, for his part, has put in work trying to get Clowney back in a Browns uniform. Garrett posted a photo to Twitter Friday of himself and Clowney celebrating a play with the caption: “JOB NOT FINISHED.”

While Garrett’s social media activity falls short of a confirmation that Clowney is returning to the team next year, it makes it clear that the Browns’ most important defensive player wants Clowney back in the huddle, which means that franchise decision-makers are likely to get onboard as well.

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