The Cleveland Browns could use some beef in the middle of their defense and Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett is a name the team has been linked to on multiple occasions.
Jarrett is 6-foot tall and tips the scale at above 300 pounds. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler and has the ability to get to the passer, notching 26.5 careers sacks, including a 7.5-sack Pro Bowl campaign in 2019.
He’s added over 50 tackles per season and double-digit quarterback hits every season since 2017. Most importantly, Jarett has been healthy, not missing a start over the last three seasons.
Bleacher Report linked the Browns to Jarrett, with Cleveland giving up pick No. 99 in the 2023 draft. Here’s what author Ian Wharton had to say about the proposed deal:
“Their most pressing hole is at defensive tackle, as the rotation of Taven Bryan, Jordan Elliott and Tommy Togiai lacks reliability. Calling the rebuilding Falcons about soon-to-be 29-year-old tackle Grady Jarrett can be mutually beneficial.
“Cleveland, which has $19.9 million in cap space, can open a considerable amount of cap space to afford Jarrett. Between trading quarterback Baker Mayfield and possible extensions for David Njoku and Denzel Ward, affording Jarrett would be easy. His addition could give the Browns the league’s best overall roster.”
Falcons Mum on Jarrett’s Long-Term Future
The Falcons are in the midst of an obvious rebuild and a defensive tackle accounting for a $23 million cap hit isn’t ideal.
“I’m not going to predict that I 100 percent know,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said via the team’s website. “He knows where we stand. We love Grady. We also know that players may have their own opinions, and that’s welcome. It’s part of doing business. We’ll see how it plays out. I love Grady and we’d love to keep coaching him.”
Falcons owner Arthur Blank echoed that sentiment on the team’s powerful defensive lineman.
“Absolutely, we love Grady. He’s a great leader, great player. Grady makes the whole thing better,” Blank said, via USA Today. “So, we’re working hard to try and make that happen.”
If the Falcons choose not to deal Jarrett, they could reach a more cap-friendly deal that will allow flexibility as they reshape the roster.
Browns Need Help at Defensive Tackle
The Browns have done little to address their need at defensive tackle through free agency. The team did sign former first-round pick Taven Bryan, but he’s far from a proven commodity in the NFL.
Neither of the team’s starters from last season and projected to return to Cleveland. Veteran Malik Jackson didn’t have an overly impressive season, was on just a one-year deal and is 32 years old. His running mate, Malik McDowell, was arrested this offseason in a bizarre naked encounter with police. He’s not expected back on the Browns next season.
McDowell could have continued to play a key role for the Browns if it wasn’t for his off-field troubles. He started 14 games, notching 33 tackles and three sacks from his defensive tackle spot.
Tommy Togiai and Jordan Elliott are currently part of the tackle rotation as well for the Browns.