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CLEVELAND (AP/WJW) — The free-agency frenzy has come and gone, but there are still some moves being made by the Cleveland Browns.
The team put an emphasis on the defensive side of the ball, and in particular, the defensive line. And for good reason.
Anthony Walker Jr.
A big defensive leader is staying with the Browns after reportedly talking to the Washington Commanders earlier this week — LB Anthony Walker Jr.
The announcement came Tuesday, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter saying the 27-year-old Floridian agreed to a one-year deal. FOX 8’s John Sabol also confirmed the news, saying “Team gets its vocal leader on defense back.”
Walker joined the Browns in 2021 after previously playing for the Indianapolis Colts.
Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson is a six-year veteran in the NFL who comes to Cleveland from the Minnesota Vikings, where he got a taste of the playoffs last season. He got a four-year, $57 million deal with $27.5 million guaranteed.
He is an elite run defender who recorded 42 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits and forced one fumble last season with Minnesota. He met with Cleveland media for the first time Thursday afternoon via Zoom and was asked about how he and Myles Garrett can elevate each other’s game.
“We are both going to demand a lot of attention,” he said. “Even if we are on the same side, you can’t double-team everybody up front. That is the biggest thing. The more chemistry we are going to build with each other through OTAs, training camp and all of those things just playing off of each other. I feel like the sky is the limit.”
The Cleveland Browns have also reached an agreement with former Kansas City Chiefs free agent safety Juan Thornhill on a contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.
Thornhill is getting a three-year, $21 million deal, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the 27-year-old has not yet signed.
Thornhill, who had a career-high 71 tackles last season, is the third defensive player joining by the Browns in free agency.
The 27-year-old Thornhill had five tackles in Kansas City’s Super Bowl win over Philadelphia.
The Browns were in the market for a starting safety after releasing John Johnson III after two seasons.
Thornhill spent four seasons with the Chiefs, who drafted him in the second round in 2019 out of Virginia. He started 52 games, finishing with eight interceptions and 234 tackles.
The Browns are also adding another big man in the middle: veteran defensive tackle, Maurice Hurst. The former Michigan star began his career with the Raiders before moving across the Bay Bridge to join the 49ers.
But injuries, including a torn bicep, have limited Hurst to just two games the last two seasons.
The Browns Thursday resigned linebacker Sione Takitaki, who has been with the team for three seasons.
Takitaki, who sustained a season-ending knee injury after filling a vital role for Cleveland in 2022, agreed Tuesday to re-sign with the Browns, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
Takitaki is getting a one-year, $2.5 million deal, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Browns are also re-signing center Ethan Pocic (three years, $18 million), who moved into the starting lineup when Nick Harris sustained a season-ending injury in August and anchored Cleveland’s offensive line.
The Browns are expected to sign Dallas Cowboy’s defensive end Trysten Hill, a former second-round pick. He will add some depth to that Browns’ defensive front.
Before free agency opened, the Browns restructured quarterback Deshaun Watson’s contract to clear $36 million under the salary cap.
The Browns are also in the market for a wide receiver and safety.