Free Agency

2019 free agency: Depth available at defensive back if the Browns want it

The Browns made waves in the league last offseason thanks to the remaking of their secondary.

General manager John Dorsey traded for Damarious Randall, signed E.J. Gaines, Terrance Mitchell and T.J. Carrie and drafted Denzel Ward. The result was a much-improved defense, and a year later, not many weaknesses to address.

Even then, though, Cleveland could add a corner. You can never have too many good corners.

Is that corner out there? Let's take a look at the defensive backs of this free agency class.

Who's back?

CB Denzel Ward - 13 games (12 starts), 53 tackles, 11 passes defended, three interceptions, one forced fumble

CB T.J. Carrie - 16 games (eight starts), 74 tackles, eight passes defended, one interception, two forced fumbles

CB Terrance Mitchell - Eight games (seven starts), 38 tackles, six passes defended, one interception, two forced fumbles

S Damarious Randall - 15 games (15 starts), 85 tackles, nine passes defended, four interceptions

S Jabrill Peppers - 16 games (16 starts), 79 tackles, 1.0 sack, five passes defended, one interception

S Derrick Kindred - 16 games (two starts), 45 tackles, one pass defended, one interception, one forced fumble

DB Jermaine Whitehead - Seven games (zero starts), four tackles

DB Tigie Sankoh - Did not play

CB Tavierre Thomas - 13 games (zero starts), eight tackles

CB Lenzy Pipkins - (With Detroit and Indianapolis) three games (zero starts), zero tackles

CB Robert Jackson - Did not play

CB Howard Wilson - Did not play

Restricted free agents

CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun - 16 games (eight starts), 56 tackles, two passes defended, one forced fumble

The Browns did not tender Boddy-Calhoun, removing his status as a restricted free agent and allowing him to enter unrestricted free agency.

CB Juston Burris - Four games (zero starts), two tackles

The Browns also did not tender Burris.

Unrestricted free agents

CB E.J. Gaines - Six games (two starts), 13 tackles, three passes defended, one interception

CB Phillip Gaines - Four games (zero starts), nine tackles

Top DBs available (rankings from NFL.com's Top 101 free agents)

2. S Earl Thomas, Seahawks

Thomas once requested the Cowboys "come get" him. Now he'll get his chance to move to Dallas in free agency, if the two sides want each other.

5. S Landon Collins, Giants

Collins needs to prove he can cover as well as he can play inside the box. Regardless, he's still a good safety.

11. S Tyrann Mathieu, Texans

Mathieu's name doesn't bring the same hype it did a couple of seasons ago, and his play doesn't match up, either. Having said that, there's still a reason why he's in the top 15 on NFL.com's list.

14. S Lamarcus Joyner, Rams

Joyner stuck around Los Angeles for another year thanks to the franchise tag, but the Rams decided he wasn't worth the money long-term, instead opting to sign Eric Weddle. That means Joyner will find a new home elsewhere soon.

18. CB Ronald Darby, Eagles

Darby is only 25 but is coming off a torn ACL, which will lower his value on the open market if the Eagles don't make an effort to keep him.

20. CB Bradley Roby, Broncos

Roby has never quite lived up to the first-round pick spent on him by Denver, but corners are incredibly valuable in today's NFL, meaning he'll still get paid handsomely.

20. CB Bryce Callahan, Bears

Callahan fell out of the consciousness of those pursuing slot corner help because his season ended early due to injury, but at 27 years old, he should attract a nice offer.

36. S Adrian Amos, Bears

After Amos spent 2018 as part of one of the league's most promising young defenses, he'll undoubtedly draw plenty of interest from suitors.

43. S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Packers

Clinton-Dix was traded in the middle of last season, but that's not an indicator of his value. He should get a healthy deal to patrol the secondary somewhere in this league.

45. CB Pierre Desir, Colts

Desir had his best year with the Colts and is in line for the biggest contract of his career. Who gives it to him is tougher to project.

48. CB Darqueze Dennard, Bengals

Does Dennard want to continue to play on the inside, or move outside, where he can make more money? That's the biggest question surrounding the 27-year-old corner.

49. CB Morris Claiborne, Jets

On a Jets team that spent plenty of time on defense, Claiborne had the best season of his career statistically. That could land him a nice contract with a contender.

51. CB Jason Verrett, Chargers

When healthy, Verrett has been an excellent defender. But he's played in just five games combined in the last two seasons.

52. DB Adrian Phillips, Chargers

Phillips had his best season of his career in 2018, ending up in the Pro Bowl as a result. The Chargers will have a tough decision to make in their defensive backfield, but it seems as if keeping Phillips would be a wise one.

59. CB Justin Coleman, Seahawks

Coleman should receive more attention than usual as the role of slot corners continues to rise.

60. Bashaud Breeland, Packers

Breeland ended up in Green Bay in a situation similar to that of Vaccaro and played in just seven games due to a slow acclimation process. Still, he managed two interceptions and at 27 years old still has some good years ahead of him.

61. S Kenny Vaccaro, Titans

Vaccaro was a rare case of one player benefitting from another's unfortunate injury. Vaccaro joined the Titans early in the season to replace Jonathan Cyprien and played arguably better over 13 games. His performance was good enough to spark rumblings of an extension for the 28-year-old who had previously washed out of New Orleans.

62. S Clayton Geathers, Colts

Geathers' notoriety rose as part of a Colts defense that wasn't suffocating, but also wasn't a liability. He played in the most games in a season since his rookie campaign and posted a career-high 89 tackles -- perfect timing for a new deal.

63. CB Jason McCourty, Patriots

McCourty reached the promised land alongside his brother, Devin, with the Patriots last season. We'll see if that means more football for Jason, or a ride into the sunset.

71. S Tashaun Gipson, Jaguars

A cap casualty after three solid seasons in Jacksonville, Gipson is on the open market again at 28 years old.

77. DB Jimmie Ward, 49ers

It's a bit of a surprise to see Ward available, but injuries are to blame. He shouldn't last long on the open market.

80. CB Steven Nelson, Chiefs

As is the case with most Chiefs selected between 2015-2017, there is a tie to Cleveland with Nelson thanks to Dorsey's time in Kansas City. Nelson started all 16 games last season and recorded four interceptions, but was part of a secondary that was routinely shredded by opposing passers. He stands to make more of an impact elsewhere, though.

88. Brian Poole, Falcons

Poole hits free agency after just three seasons in which he appeared in all but one regular season game. He was a pleasant surprise after joining the team as an undrafted free agent and has earned whatever money he receives on the open market.

90. S Glover Quin, Lions

A late bloomer, Quin's release from the Lions saves Detroit a little under $5 million. His departure was more of a lack of fit within Matt Patricia's system than money, though. Quin made the Pro Bowl in 2017 but started to show signs of his age last season. 

100. CB Brent Grimes, Buccaneers

Grimes is past the age where the Browns would aim, but credit to him for still hacking it at what will be 36 in July.

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