Browns To Sign S Juan Thornhill

The Browns are adding a two-time champion to their secondary. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter), Cleveland is signing safety Juan Thornhill. The defensive back is signing a three-year deal worth $21MM, including $14MM in guaranteed money that will be paid out in the first two years of the contract.

The former second-round pick out of Virginia spent the first four seasons of his career in Kansas City, starting 52 of his 65 games. This included a rookie campaign where he earned PFWA All-Rookie Team honors after starting all 16 games for the Chiefs.

This past season, Thornhill started all 16 of his appearances, missing only one game and finishing the year with 71 tackles, nine passes defended, and three interceptions. The 27-year-old started another three playoff games en route to a Super Bowl championship, compiling another 13 tackles and three passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked Thornhill 20th among 88 qualifying safeties, including the 12th-best mark at the position in pass coverage.

Thornhill is headed to Cleveland to fill the starting safety spot vacated by John Johnson, who was released by the Browns at the end of February. The team had been linked to former Bengals safety Jessie Bates at the time but should be perfectly satisfied with nabbing Thornhill instead. Thornhill should slide in right next to starting safety Grant Delpit. The only other safeties currently on the roster are undrafted second-year safeties D’Anthony Bell and Bubba Bolden.

The official loss of Thornhill makes safety a priority for Kansas City. They return free safety Justin Reid, who is signed through the 2024 season, but the only other safety on the roster for the Chiefs is a backup from last year, Bryan Cook, whose only start last year came when Thornhill was inactive.

The Chiefs will likely have to turn to the draft or free agency to fill the hole left by Thornhill. The Browns, on the other hand, have found a reliable starter to place next to Delpit as he continues to develop. It’s a strong move for a team who finished fifth in the league last year in passing yards allowed to upgrade at a position they needed to fill.

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