It's March, at last, and the start of the new league year is just two short weeks away.
Typically, we'd be picking up the pieces from the NFL Combine at this point of the offseason. That's not the case for 2021, however, so we're putting an even bigger focus on free agency at this point on the calendar.
It all (officially) begins Wednesday, March 17. And over the next couple of weeks, we'll be breaking down some potential options for Cleveland position-by-position from all across the league.
First, we're looking at the current Browns who are headed toward free agency. Of note: Up until the new league year begins, the Browns have the exclusive ability to re-sign any of these players if they choose to do so.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
(These players are free to sign anywhere when the new league year commences March 17)
LB B.J. Goodson
Signed at the start of the 2020 league year, Goodson led the Browns with 91 tackles despite missing two games near the end of the season. He was regarded as one of the team's defensive leaders and carried a loud, respected voice in an otherwise young Browns LBs room.
WR Marvin Hall
Claimed via waivers from the Lions midway through the season, Hall caught one pass for 12 yards in the Browns' loss to the Jets, a game in which the team was without its top four wide receivers. Earlier in the season with Detroit, Hall caught 17 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns.
WR Rashard Higgins
Higgins had the best season of his career and took over as an every-game starter midway through the year following Odell Beckham Jr.'s season-ending knee injury. Higgins caught 37 passes for 599 yards and four touchdowns and added seven more catches for 116 yards in the playoffs. Higgins, a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has been with the Browns for his entire NFL career.
CB Kevin Johnson
Johnson, who came to Cleveland on a one-year deal last March. was the Browns' regular starter in the slot. He had 35 tackles, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and three passes defensed over 13 games during the regular season.
S Karl Joseph
Joseph, who also came to Cleveland on a one-year deal last March, appeared in 14 games with eight starts and finished with 64 tackles, an interception, four passes defensed and two fumble recoveries. He added another fumble recovery in the Wild Card round, when he pounced on a ball in the end zone to score the Browns' first touchdown of the memorable win.
T Kendall Lamm
In his second season with the Browns, Lamm appeared in 15 games and started at left tackle for the Browns' Week 16 game against the Jets. Lamm caught the first touchdown pass of his career in Cleveland's Week 13 win over the Titans.
LB Elijah Lee
Claimed via waivers from the Lions midway through the season, Lee appeared in eight games and primarily played on special teams.
CB Terrance Mitchell
Mitchell is coming off the most productive season of his career after playing the most snaps of anyone on Cleveland's defense. The every-game starter had 65 tackles, 13 passes defensed and three forced fumbles in his third season with the team.
WR JoJo Natson
Natson was the team's top punt and kick returner for the first three games of the year before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
DT Larry Ogunjobi
A starter for the past three years on Cleveland's defensive line, Ogunjobi finished 2020 with 46 tackles, 2.5 sacks, five tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Over four seasons in Cleveland, Ogunjobi, a third-round pick in 2017, has appeared in 60 games with 47 starts.
K Cody Parkey
In his second stint with the team, Parkey took over as the team's kicker Week 2 and finished the season 19-of-22 on field goals, making all but one of his 11 attempts from 40 yards or more, while going 43-of-47 on extra points. He made all 11 of his kicks (eight extra points, three field goals) in the playoffs.
S Andrew Sendejo
The veteran came to Cleveland on a one-year deal last March and started all 14 games in which he played. He had 66 tackles, two passes defensed and a forced fumble in his 10th NFL season.
LB Malcolm Smith
The former Super Bowl MVP joined the Browns during training camp and was a reliable contributor throughout the season, finishing with 72 tackles (second-most on the team) over 15 games. He also had an interception against Washington to go along with two passes defensed and a forced fumble.
WR Taywan Taylor
Taylor appeared in three games and was ruled out for the season (neck) before the Browns' Week 14 game against the Ravens.
DT Vincent Taylor
Claimed via waivers before the start of the season, Taylor appeared in 15 games as a key member of the Browns' rotation along the defensive line. He got his hands on the pass that was ultimately intercepted by Porter Gustin in the Browns' Wild Card win over the Steelers.
DE Olivier Vernon
The veteran pass rusher was a force for the Browns throughout the season and piled up all nine of his sacks from Weeks 8-17. He earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors following his performance against the Eagles but was unable to see the field for the playoffs after suffering an Achilles injury in Cleveland's Week 17 win over the Steelers.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
(These players are free to sign an offer sheet with another team, but the Browns have the right to match such an offer)
LB Tae Davis
Davis was one of the Browns' top special teams players in his first full season with the team, finishing with seven solo special teams tackles.
WR KhaDarel Hodge
Hodge battled multiple hamstring injuries and spent time on the reserve-COVID-19 list, limiting him to nine games. Still, he finished with a career-best 11 catches for 180 yards while continuing to serve as one of the Browns' most valuable special teams players.
CB Tavierre Thomas
Another major contributor on special teams, Thomas saw the most extensive action of his career on defense, particularly during the first part of the season. He appeared in all 16 games with three starts and finished with 20 tackles to go along with 10 special teams tackles.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
(These players can only sign with the Browns, unless the team decides not to tender a qualifying offer to them by March 17)
TE Stephen Carlson
In his second year with the team, Carlson appeared in all 16 games and primarily played on special teams. He finished with one catch for 11 yards to go along with nine special teams tackles and the most important onside kick recovery of the season.
DE Porter Gustin
In his first full season with the team, Gustin appeared in 14 games with three starts while primarily serving as a rotational player on the defensive line. He had 28 tackles during the regular season and recorded the first interception of his career in the Browns' Wild Card win over the Steelers.
Check out the best 100 photos from this season by the Browns photo team