When free agency opens up, the Cleveland Browns will be busy, eager to bolster their new-look defense under Jim Schwartz.
The Browns are expected to restructure quarterback Deshaun Watson’s contract to add some significant cap space, which will allow them to go after some big names in free agency. One of those players expected to be firmly on the Browns’ radar is Eagles impending free agent defensive tackle Javon Hargrave.
Hargrave was among the free agents the Browns will have on their radar in free agency, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. He’d be a huge get for the Browns, who have a massive need at defensive tackle.
“Hargrave, 30, will be one of the most sought-after free agents on the market, and the price will be high — somewhere around $20 million a year,” Cabot wrote. “But Hargrave would be the perfect addition to Schwartz’s defensive line, and would go a long way toward a dominant front four.”
Hargrave notched 60 tackles last season with the Eagles, also collecting a career-high 11 sacks — putting him among the elite interior lineman in terms of getting to the quarterback.
Hargrave Loved Playing For Jim Schwartz
Schwartz is expected to attract some high-profile free agents, including players like Hargrave, who had played for him previously.
“I had Jim the first year I got (to Philadelphia) and one, I love his defense,” Hargrave told Cleveland.com during Super Bowl week. “His defense really features the defensive line and is all about the attack front, but Jim, he’s an aggressive coach and a great guy to play under.”
Schwartz has been able to get the most out of his defensive lineman and he’s eager to bring his attack mentality to Cleveland.
“I like to call it an ‘attack defense,'” Schwartz told the Browns’ official site in February. “We’re not a ‘read’ team up front. We’re an ‘attack’ team. We’re going to be disruptive. We’re hitting spots. It’s probably not as wide as it used to be, but it’s pretty simple in theory.
“It allows the players to play fast and puts them in the best position to rush the quarterback and play the run in between.”
Whoever the Browns get will get the benefit of playing alongside Myles Garrett, who is coming off back-to-back 16-sack seasons. Garrett is one of the most double-teamed players in the league, which should leave opportunities elsewhere on the defensive line.
Browns Defense Needs Reworking After Disappointing Year
There were high hopes for the Browns’ defense last season but the unit had some major flaws exposed throughout the year. It led to some gaping holes for opposition running games and some breakdowns in the secondary.
The Browns fired former defensive coordinator Joe Woods shortly after the season ended and opted to bring in Schwartz. The Browns are happy with how the relationship has developed and have raved about his open-mindedness.
“He believes in things that he needs to do to be able to do that, but Jim also realizes that good coaches can move players around and make the most out of players, so he’s not limiting anybody in terms of, ‘This player doesn’t meet this criteria,'” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said at the combine. “He’s very open-minded, and I think ultimately it’s our job as an organization to give him pieces to go succeed.”