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Browns plan to release or trade safety John Johnson III

John Johnson III
Posted at 8:38 AM, Feb 28, 2023

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns are looking ahead to the 2023 season and as part of their planning they have chosen to part ways with safety John Johnson III at the start of the league year, which begins on March 15, a league source confirmed.

Johnson is expected to be released, barring he isn't part of a trade.

The safety could be a post-June 1 cut, which would save the Browns around $9.75 million in cap with a dead cap hit around $3.75 million. If he was cut before, Johnson would carry a dead cap hit of $12.6 million and a savings of just $900,000.

The 27-year-old safety joined the Browns in 2021, coming off four seasons with the Rams. Johnson brought with him the promise of pure coverage and proven experience, but, unfortunately, his time in Cleveland wasn't all that fans had hoped for.

While Johnson was able to make plays for the Browns over the past two years, his efforts weren't always strong enough on the field. In 2021, Johnson recorded three interceptions. Last season, he had just one. His yards per completion allowed last season, 15.9, was the highest of his career, as was the yardage he allowed, 429.

The fit with Johnson seemed just not to click after last year, but some of the things he called for will remain a work in progress for the Browns, including an effort to better communicate and increased inspiration from the defensive coordinator, which sees a fresh face in Jim Schwartz taking over for Joe Woods this year.

As the Browns adjust their defense, Johnson becomes one of those adjustments and is expected to land with a new team in the coming weeks.

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