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Free Agency

2022 Free Agency Preview: What are the options at LB?

The Browns have options within and possible options in free agency to build around “JOK”

The NFL free agency period is one week away, and the Browns will be in the market to add new players to their roster and tap into some of the cap space they have for the 2022 season.

We're taking a look at some of the most notable unrestricted free agents who will be available at positions of interest for the Browns and moving over to LB.

Who's back?

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah - A second-round pick who often played like a first-rounder in his rookie season. He was second on the defense with 76 tackles last season and could see an every-down role at some point in his second year in Cleveland.

Jacob Phillips - Suffered a biceps injury in training camp but came back to play four games. The 2020 third-round pick likely will be given a chance to take his biggest role yet on the defense in his third year.

Mack Wilson - The 2019 fifth-round pick totaled 42 tackles in his third year in the league. 

Sione Takitaki - The 2019 third-round pick totaled 44 tackles and was heavily used on special teams in addition to his role in the rotation.

Tony Fields II - Battled injuries throughout his rookie offseason and was used on special teams when healthy, recording four tackles.

Willie Harvey Jr. - He's been off and on the Browns' practice squad and active roster since 2019 and has two career tackles.

Who could hit the market?

Anthony Walker Jr. - Instantly became a leader on the defense and led the group with 113 tackles. He's tallied over 100 tackles in three of his last four seasons in the league.

Malcolm Smith - The 32-year-old finished his 10th season in the NFL with 51 tackles and two interceptions, his most since 2013.  

Elijah Lee - He was moved from the practice squad and active roster throughout the season with his role largely based on special teams. He had 15 tackles in 2021. 

Montreal Meander - Has bounced around from the Browns' practice squad and active roster since he entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2018. 

Top linebackers available (*Rankings from’s Top 101 Free Agents*)

17. Bobby Wagner, Seahawks - He became the best linebacker available when Seattle released him Tuesday. He's a six-time All Pro player who would provide a boost to any linebackers group in the league.

19. De'Vondre Campbell, Packers - The six-year veteran earned his first All-Pro selection in 2021 after tallying 146 tackles and two sacks. 

54. Anthony Barr, Vikings - Barr is a four-time Pro Bowler but hasn't earned a nomination since 2018. Still producing at a high level, however, with 72 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.

67. Kyzir White, Chargers - Enjoyed what was clearly a breakout season with 144 tackles. He's 26 and is one of the youngest linebackers on the market.

77. Foyesade Oloukun, Falcons - Led the league with 192 tackles in 2021. Also had six passes defensed and can make every play needed at the linebacker position.

91. Dont'a Hightower, Patriots - Has been a mainstay in New England for the last 10 years, although his production fell a bit after not playing in 2020.

96. Dante Fowler, Falcons - Hasn't been able to match his production from 2019 when he had 11.5 sacks with the Rams but still has some pass rush skill that could be valuable at the position.

98. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys - He's battled injuries across his four-year career in Dallas but can still be a tackling machine when healthy.

100. Jayon Brown, Titans - He's battled injuries the last two seasons that have limited him to 10 games each year, but he's still a consistent off-ball linebacker.

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