NFL free agency grades: How did each team do?

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Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons
Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Browns

For the second straight offseason, the Cleveland Browns find themselves in the “winners” column in free agency. Hopefully, it will finally translate into actual wins on the field, but, of course, this all hinges on Baker Mayfield, whom the Browns organization continues to do everything to support.

After acquiring Odell Beckham Jr. last year, the Browns have given Mayfield another top-notch target, signing Austin Hooper to a deal worth $11 million per year which will make him the highest-paid player at the position. It was the expected outcome for Hooper, who was held back by poor coaching in Atlanta over the past two years and has athletic ability the team never used. He can be a great safety valve, but, alongside the dangerous David Njoku, he can be so much more.

Yet Hooper wasn’t even the biggest acquisition to help Mayfield. Cleveland committed highway robbery by signing one of the NFL’s best offensive tackles to a three-year deal worth $42 million. Jack Conklin is a massive upgrade for the Browns who will help both Mayfield and Nick Chubb.

And if Mayfield has another awful season, the Browns signed Case Keenum to a delightfully cheap deal as a backup. New Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski led Keenum to an NFC Championship Game, so this familiarity cannot be underrated.

Defensively, Cleveland also played it smart. They have signed quality pieces to one-year deals, as Karl Joseph and Andrew Billings are talented players who have breakout upside. Meanwhile, they let other teams overpay Eric Murray, Juston Burris, and Joe Schobert.

Grade: A+