The Browns hope safety Juan Thornhill fares better with them than John Johnson, the free-agent buy he replaces.
Browns add safety Juan Thornhill and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst in free agency
You must have an active subscription to read this story.
Click Here to subscribe Now!
Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.
On the third day of free agency, the Browns pecked away at a few more needs in free agency and cleaned up some financials on departing players.
All in all, a good day for them.
Here’s what the Browns accomplished on officially the first day of the NFL 2023 league year:
Agreed to terms with free safety Juan Thornhill of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Thornhill, 27, is a nice replacement for John Johnson, whom the Browns formally designated as a post-June 1 release.
Thornhill, 6-0 and 203 pounds, was a second-round draft pick of the Chiefs in 2019 and started every game his rookie season. He suffered a torn left ACL in the 16th game, however, which forced him to miss the entire postseason, including the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Thornhill jumped right back on the saddle in 2020, and appeared in every game, including the divisional playoff win over the Browns.
In his Kansas City career, Thornhill had 52 starts in 65 regular-season appearances, turning in eight interceptions and one touchdown. After missing the Chiefs’ Super Bowl 54 championship, Thornhill started in six post-season games, including Super Bowls 56 (loss to Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and 57 (win over Philadelphia Eagles).
The deal with the Browns was reported to be three years for $21 million, with $14 million guaranteed.
The details weren’t immediately available, but Thornhill’s 2023 salary cap figure will be considerably lower than Johnson’s scheduled $13.5 million.
Agreed to terms with defensive tackle Maurice Hurst of the San Francisco 49ers.
Hurst has had a difficult pro career, starting when his draft stock plummeted in 2018 due to a heart condition. The Oakland Raiders took the Michigan Wolverine in the fifth round after he was touted as a first-round talent.
Hurst had an impressive first training camp and proceeded to record four sacks as a rookie. One was of Baker Mayfield in Mayfield’s first career start in Oakland. Hurst responded with 3.5 sacks and an interception his second season.
Hurst missed five games because of COVID-19 in 2020 and was waived after the season by the Raiders. Signed by the 49ers, Hurst then missed most of 2021 with a severe calf injury. He suffered a torn biceps in the 49ers 2022 training camp and missed the entire season after surgery.
If healthy, Hurst, 6-1 and 292 pounds, would be a nice addition to the tackle rotation being rebuilt for new coordinator Jim Schwartz.
According to Brad Stainbrook of Orange and Brown Report, Hurst agreed to a one-year deal. It is probably for the NFL minimum.
Confirmed the signings of defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.
Tomlinson’s deal, reported at four years for $57 million, with $27.5 million guaranteed, makes him the top-priced free agent signed by GM Andrew Berry this year.
“I’m excited about Dalvin being a Cleveland Brown,” coach Kevin Stefanski said in a Browns statement. “He’s a smart, tough football player. In addition to be a productive force in the middle of the defense, he’s a high-character person. He’s a great teammate and leader in the locker room.”
Okoronkwo’s reported deal is three years for $19 million, with $12.49 million guaranteed.
“Ogbo will fit in well with our defensive scheme,” Stefanski said. “He’s a disruptive force and has capitalized when given opportunities. He has a lot of upside and we are happy that we are able to add him to our defense.”
Designated the releases of John Johnson and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney as post-June 1.
This means the Browns will carry the salary cap figures of Johnson ($13.5 million) and Clowney ($2.765 million) through June 1.
After that, the Browns will receive cap relief of $9.75 million for Johnson and $1.165 million for Clowney. That space will open up room for signing all rookie draft picks and any future emergency signings throughout the 2023 season.
Saw the following players sign with other teams.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett agreed with the Washington Commanders for a reported one year for $10 million with $8 million guaranteed.
Defensive tackle Taven Bryan agreed with the Indianapolis Colts for a reported one year for $4.5 million.
Offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt agreed with the Arizona Cardinals for a reported two years. Froholdt is reunited with former Browns quarterback coach Drew Petzing, who was hired as Cardinals offensive coordinator.