Baker Mayfield Could Soon Partner With a Top Defensive Free Agent on the Browns

If the bad luck that followed the Cleveland Browns around like the Grim Reaper is finally gone, then Baker Mayfield and friends will enter the 2021 NFL season as legitimate contenders.

Mayfield and the Browns are coming off the team’s first playoff appearance since 2002. Although they still play in the same division as Ben Roethlisberger’s Steelers and Lamar Jackson’s Ravens, the Browns have every reason to be optimistic about what the future holds.

After missing out on J.J. Watt, the Browns could make a major splash in free agency by signing Trey Hendrickson, the Saints’ dynamic sack artist.

Baker Mayfield and the Browns need another pass-rusher

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In Myles Garrett, the Cleveland Browns already have one of the NFL’s top pass-rushers.

One isn’t enough, though, and the Browns appear intrigued by the idea of adding another defensive lineman who can team up with Garrett and create nightmares for opposing quarterbacks. Oliver Vernon played that role last year before he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in Week 17.

Vernon turns 31 in October, and Achilles injuries — especially at his age — are often a massive blow to a player’s future. As of publication, the Browns had not re-signed Vernon, who is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency later this month.

The Browns were reportedly interested in signing Houston Texans legend J.J. Watt. The Arizona Cardinals signed Watt to a two-year contract worth $31 million — including $23 million in guaranteed money — on March 1.

Trey Hendrickson is available on the free agent market

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Between the likes of Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, and Myles Garrett, the Cleveland Browns are a young team ready to send shockwaves through the NFL.

Adding Trey Hendrickson, who turned 26 in December, is naturally the next move. A former third-round pick from Florida Atlantic, Hendrickson broke out for 13.5 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss in 15 games last season.

Hendrickson totaled 6.5 sacks in his first three seasons. The fourth-year defender doubled that total despite only playing 53% of the Saints’ defensive snaps in 2020.

Baker Mayfield and the Browns would love Trey Hendrickson

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Trey Hendrickson fits everything that Baker Mayfield and the Browns are trying to build.

Hendrickson is the type of player who keeps his head down and isn’t chasing the spotlight. Although it is easy to call Hendrickson a one-year wonder, it is worth noting he had 4.5 sacks in 13 games and three starts during the 2019 season.

Hendrickson also played 14% of the Saints’ special teams snaps last year despite his ascension to the starting lineup. Although he’s battled injuries in the past, Hendrickson’s age and ceiling make him a promising free agent.

As one of the top defensive free agents on the open market, Hendrickson is sure to command a large contract. According to Over The Cap, the Browns had over $24.8 million available in cap space as of publication.

If the Browns are trying to build a dominating defense, they’re going to need another impactful pass-rusher. Now, when everything is going well in Cleveland, is the time for the Browns to strike and make a play for Hendrickson.

All contract figures courtesy of Over The Cap.