Browns Urged to Sign $24 Million DT, Former 1st-Round Pick

Michael Brockers, Lions

Getty Defensive tackle Michael Brockers, formerly of the Detroit Lions, walks on the field before a game against the Baltimore Ravens in September 2021.

The Cleveland Browns have already made two major upgrades to the defensive line this offseason, and the team has the salary cap room to pursue a third.

Both meaningful additions to the defensive front played for the Minnesota Vikings last season. The Browns signed free agent defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson to a four-year, $57 million deal and traded for edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, who will hit free agency in 2024. Cleveland can mine the NFC North Division once again by pursuing defensive tackle Michael Brockers, most recently of the Detroit Lions.

Josh Aul of FanSided on Wednesday, June 7, pitched Brockers as one of the three top remaining free agent candidates that Cleveland should pursue ahead of the upcoming season.

Touted as a phenomenal leader and mentor for young players, Michael Brockers presents a solid possible addition for the Browns. With 11 years of experience, Brockers will turn 33 years old later this season.

In 2022 with the Lions, Brockers — despite being a team captain — was benched by head coach Dan Campbell. … The decision to bench Brockers ultimately led to him being a cap casualty for the team heading into the 2023 season. But with his extensive history of proven production, reliability and availability, the Browns could greatly benefit from adding Brockers to the roster.

Michael Brockers Offers Browns Defensive Line Leadership, Maturity

Michael Brockers

GettyDefensive tackle Michael Brockers, formerly of the Detroit Lions, warms up before a game against the Green Bay Packers in October 2021. 

Brockers has never made an All-Pro team or a Pro Bowl, but he has been exceptionally consistent since joining the league as a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams (then the St. Louis Rams) in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Prior to last season, the defensive lineman appeared in fewer than 14 regular season games just once throughout his entire career. That campaign was his rookie year, when Brockers played in 13 contests and started 12. He has started 157 of the 160 professional games in which he has seen the field for at least one play.

Brockers has amassed 451 tackles, including 52 tackles for loss, 64 quarterback hits, 29 sacks, 10 pass breakups and two forced fumbles over the course of his career, per Pro Football Reference. The Lions signed Brockers to a three-year, $24 million deal in 2021 and released him in February with one year remaining on that contract in order to save $10 million against the salary cap.

As he heads into his 12th season, Brockers’ primary value to a Browns defense — on which he would either start or contribute significantly — resides in his attitude and leadership. Fourth-round rookie Perrion Winfrey struggled with both last season, as the middle of the Browns defensive front was eaten alive more often than not on the way to a 7-10 finish to the season.

Whether Brockers would usurp Jordan Elliott’s starting spot or not, his addition would infuse the Browns defensive line with both accountability and a positive energy that were missing from the equation in 2022.

Browns’ Additions Should Improve Defensive Line in 2023

Dalvin Tomlinson

GettyDefensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings, signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2023.

The additions the Browns have already made to the defensive line should improve the group’s performance significantly from last year.

Smith brings 10 sacks with him from Minnesota to replace the two sacks that Jadeveon Clowney mustered during his final campaign in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Tomlinson was a high-end performer at his position in 2022, particularly in terms of getting after opposing quarterbacks, earning an overall player grade of 77.1 and a pass-rush grade of 79.1 from Pro Football Focus.

Adding a player of Brockers’ caliber to the fold will complete the Browns’ rebuild of the defensive line, transforming arguably the weakest unit on the roster in 2022 into one of the best next season.

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