Cleveland makes sense as a potential destination for Johnson on a number of levels. For one, the Browns now employ former Los Angeles defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, under whom Johnson performed with aplomb during the past several seasons. Second, Cleveland boasts more than $100MM in cap space, meaning it could either allow Johnson to play out his franchise tender at a cost of nearly $17MM or sign him to an extension.
At present, the Browns’ secondary depth chart is exceptionally barren behind No. 1 corner Joe Haden, who himself has dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness in recent years. Cleveland recently released veteran defensive back Tramon Williams, leaving Jamar Taylor, Briean Boddy-Calhoun, and Trey Caldwell as the other corners on a defense that ranked 30th in DVOA against the pass.
The Rams, for their part, likely don’t view Johnson as a perfect fit for new defensive play-caller Wade Phillips‘ scheme. Phillips runs a 3-4 front that relies on man coverage in the back-end, while Johnson has always played better in a zone scheme with help over the top.
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