Who Are The Most Impactful Players Of Browns Gm Andrew Berry’S 14 Veteran Player Acquisitions?

Defensive end Za'Darius Smith was GM Andrew Berry's last veteran acquisition. He may be the most impactful of 14 veteran players added by Berry through free agency or trade.

Defensive end Za'Darius Smith was GM Andrew Berry's last veteran acquisition. He may be the most impactful of 14 veteran players added by Berry through free agency or trade.

Who are the most impactful players of Browns GM Andrew Berry’s 14 veteran player acquisitions?

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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.

In his exit interview following the disappointing 2022 season, safety John Johnson told his bosses the Browns needed to show “urgency” in the coming season.

The Browns may have released Johnson, but they listened and took his words to heart.

Andrew Berry responded by having his most aggressive transaction season in four years as Browns GM.

Berry signed or traded for 14 veteran players (counting quarterback Josh Dobbs, who finished the 2022 season with the Tennesseee Titans). These players received a little more than $74 million in guaranteed money. He also re-signed six players from the Browns' 2022 roster whose contracts had expired.

Berry might not be completely done. It’s possible he could add a veteran offensive tackle to the roster before the Browns report to training camp unofficially on July 22.

For now, we rank the new players, including Dobbs, on the impact they could make in the 2023 season.

1. Defensive end Za’Darius Smith

Acquired: Trade with Minnesota Vikings.

Guaranteed money: $11.75 million.

No complementary defensive end to Myles Garrett arrived with more career sacks than Smith. Olivier Vernon had 51 when joined the Browns via a trade in 2019. Jadeveon Clowney had 32 when he was signed for the first time in 2021. Smith brings 54.5 sacks accumulated with the Ravens, Packers and Vikings. Smith has made the NFC Pro Bowl squad after double-digit sack totals in three of the last four seasons.

2. Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $27.5 million.

Not necessarily an interior pass rusher, he has averaged about 56 percent play time in four seasons with the Giants, and the last two with the Vikings as a defensive line teammate of Smith. That could change under Schwartz, but Tomlinson is expected to have his greatest impact against the run on early downs.

3. Slot receiver Elijah Moore

Acquired: Trade with New York Jets.

Guaranteed money: $1 million.

Moore is in the third year of his rookie contract, which guaranteed him $5.9 million, including $1 million of his 2023 base salary now picked up by the Browns. He is the first natural slot receiver of the Stefanski era. The coach intends to line up three- and four-receiver formations more frequently to accentuate Watson’s throwing skills. In two years with the Jets, Moore averaged 40 receptions for 492 yards and three touchdowns. Expect a 50 percent boost in those categories with Watson at the helm.

4. Free safety Juan Thornhill

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $14 million.

The former Kansas City Chief replaces John Johnson as the deep safety in Schwartz’s scheme. A 2019 second-round draft pick, Thornill had eight interceptions, one for a touchdown, in four seasons with the AFC powerhouse Chiefs and won two Super Bowl rings with them. The Chiefs were 1-1 in the Super Bowls in which Thornhill was active. He missed their triumph in Super Bowl 50 because of an ACL injury.

5. Defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $12.49 million.

His five sacks with the Houston Texans last year improved his career total to 9.5. So he’s on the rise, but he’s not an every-down player. He will join Myles Garrett and Smith in a three-end rotation that will enable Schwartz to reduce Garrett’s approximate 80 percent snap count for the purpose of having Garrett fresher in the fourth quarter of games and in the final month of the season.

6. Safety Rodney McLeod

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $1.317 million.

Schwartz needed a player in a key role familiar with his system. McLeod was the starting strong safety on the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl championship team in the 2017 season when Schwartz was defensive coordinator. At 33 when the season starts, he’ll be the second-oldest player on the roster (for now). McLeod essentially replaces Ronnie Harrison as the Browns’ third safety. He’s versatile enough to play strong or free, but should see his most time in “big dime” defensive packages that replace a third linebacker with a third safety.

7. Quarterback Josh Dobbs

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $2 million.

Dobbs had a real good training camp with the Browns in 2022 but was released in December when Watson was activated from NFL suspension. He moved to the Detroit Lions practice squad and ultimately played two games for the Tennessee Titans with that team’s playoff hopes on the line. Dobbs did well enough to verify he was qualified to move into a QB2 role. He may not play a down in 2023. But if he is called on, he is capable of winning a game.

8. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $1.7 million.

A long jumper on the 2012 U.S. Olympics team, his 4.27 40 speed posted at his NFL combine 11 years ago is still a big part of his game. In nine NFL seasons, he’s averaged two TDs a year. If one of them wins a game for the Browns, the modest investment would be worth it.

9. Tight end Jordan Akins

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $1.73 million.

In three years as a teammate of Watson with the Houston Texans, he averaged 30 receptions for 349 yards and one touchdown. He will compete with Harrison Bryant for TE2.

10. Cornerback Mike Ford

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $925,000.

Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Marquice Williams described Ford as an “impact player” on special teams. Ford has increased his special teams snap counts percentage in each of his five seasons with the Lions, Broncos and Falcons.

11. Linebacker Matthew Adams

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $300,000.

He averaged 70 percent special teams snaps in four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts under Ventrone and then had 83 percent participation with the Chicago Bears last year. Like Ford, this appears a signing influenced by special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone. He'll be a core special teams player.

12. Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $0.

A heart condition discovered in the 2018 pre-draft process plummeted him from low first round to fifth round. He flashed his ability with 7.5 sacks in his first two seasons with the Oakland Raiders. Injuries limited him to 13 games the past two seasons.

13. Defensive tackle Trysten Hill

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $300,000.

A second-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2019, injuries have derailed his career. In his 2019 draft report, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranked him as the 10th-best defensive tackle. Brugler wrote: “Overall, Hill is an outstanding athlete for a 300+ pounder with the movement skills to develop into an NFL backfield disruptor if he matures both on and off the field, projecting best as one-gap three technique.”

14. Interior lineman Wes Martin

Acquired: Free agent signing.

Guaranteed money: $0.

A fourth-round pick of the Washington Commanders in 2019, he has 11 career starts at guard with the Commanders and New York Giants.