3 offseason moves the Cleveland Browns have to make to take the next step

The club went from last place a year ago to a playoff appearance in 2023. What can the Cleveland Browns do to finally reach the Super Bowl?

Jan 13, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) reacts in a
Jan 13, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) reacts in a / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Keep the team’s starting defensive front intact

It didn’t necessarily look the part in the 45-14 playoff loss at Houston. However, the Browns’ fearsome defensive unit did wind up allowing the fewest total yards in the league this season. Although two of the six touchdowns Cleveland gave up in the wild card setback came via interceptions thrown by Joe Flacco, Jim Schwartz’s heralded defense did surrender 356 total yards and failed to come up with a sack or takeaway.

Nonetheless, it was a big year for the Browns on this side of the ball and the potential is there to be better. The team finished with 49 sacks, 14.0 of those sacks by All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett, and also came up with 28 takeaways.

With the exception of Garrett, the remainder of the starting front four were all 2023 offseason additions. The Browns orchestrated a trade with the Vikings for defensive end Za’Darius Smith. They also turned to Minnesota to acquire free-agent interior presence Dalvin Tomlinson. When defensive tackle Shelby Harris became a cap casualty in Seattle, Berry grabbed the underrated performer.

Now Smith and Harris could become unrestricted free agents as of 4:00 pm ET on March 13. That is, unless the Browns make some decisions over the next seven weeks.

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