The Cleveland Browns have done some good work to patch the holes in their roster this offseason but one area of concern is at linebacker.
A veteran free agent of note who could step into a starting role is Myles Jack, who was a second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016. Jack has started 95 games in his career, playing both inside out outside linebacker. He most recently suited up for the Pittsburgh Steelers, starting 13 games last season for the Browns’ AFC North rival. He collected 104 tackles last season, which was his third consecutive year finishing north of 100 tackles. Jack spent his previous six seasons in the NFL with the Jaguars.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Rill put Jack on a list of free agents the Browns must consider ahead of training camp and could see him taking on a starting role in Cleveland.
“The Browns could use a bit more depth at linebacker, and Jack has a lot of potential upside,” Rill wrote. “Cleveland could use Jack as a starter who would also be able to serve as a veteran mentor to the team’s young LBs. Of course, the Browns shouldn’t overpay, as another linebacker isn’t exactly a pressing issue for them at this point.”
Browns LB Jacob Phillips Feeling Strong After Injury
The Browns have around $16.9 million in cap space left for this season and Jack likely wouldn’t come with a large cost. While his play has waned recently, his ability to stay on the field is something the Browns would value. The 27-year-old Jack has been relatively healthy during his career and could provide some valuable experience at the position.
The Browns were hammered by injuries last season at the linebacker position, with Jacob Phillips among those going down with a season-ending issue. Phillips landed on IR last October with a torn pectoral muscle but has been participating in the team’s offseason workouts.
“I feel completely different. I know that when the pads get on, it’s going to definitely feel a lot different,” Phillips told Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal. “I think this is the strongest and biggest I’ve been in my life.”
Phillips is entering the final year of his rookie deal with just 20 games played with eight starts. Multiple injuries have affected his ability to get on the field but his coaches have been pleased with his mentality to push through.
“Very proud of Jacob Phillips, of how hard he’s worked off the field, three season-ending injuries is really hard on your brain,” linebackers coach Jason Tarver said. “He is super strong and super flexible and just excited for him.”
Browns Want JOK to Develop Body, Stay on Field
Jerimiah Owusu-Koramoah is another piece of the linebacker room that the Browns hope will come back stronger after battling injuries a year ago. The former Notre Dame standout has 20 starts to his name through his first two seasons and posted a grade of 65.5 on Pro Football Focus, excelling in coverage. However, Tarver wants to see him build up his body ahead of training camp.
“He needs to continue developing his body, especially in this little off-time. He’s got a nice window right now that if he takes care of business, he can get his body to play, game zero, the extra preseason game then however many of those we get,” Tarver said. “Then 17-plus, because that’s the goal, right? That’s the goal, so that’s his challenge now to be productive pro and know the scheme so well that he gets to stay on the field.”
Owusu-Koramoah missed six games last season, including the final four games with a foot sprain that landed him on IR. He notched 70 tackles, 34 solo, seven for a loss, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 11 games.