The Cleveland Browns have found some luck of their own on the week of St. Patrick’s Day. News just broke on Monday night that the Browns secured a deal with one of the highest sought out young safeties in NFL Free Agency, John Johnson III. The contract is a three-year, $33.75 million with $20 million fully guaranteed.
John Johnson III Past Success
Johnson, the Boston College graduate, has been in the NFL eye recently, as he became a free agent. Previously, the 25-year-old played for the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams picked the safety in the third round of the NFL Draft in 2017. During his time in Los Angeles, Johnson became a team favorite on and off the field.
After four seasons, Johnson combined 350 tackles and 115 assisted tackles with eight interceptions. His shining moment occurred in 2018, when he intercepted a pass by Saints quarterback Drew Brees. This set up the Rams to claim the NFC Championship with a game-winning field goal.
As well as being a team captain, Johnson shows leadership off of the field. He was nominated by the Rams in 2020 for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. In the local Los Angeles community, Johnson helped out with the NFL PLAY 60 Character Camp, which allows Hispanic children to learn about football.
Benefits for the Browns
The potential and athleticism is there for Johnson, so what will the safety bring to Cleveland? To start out, the Browns desperately needed to fill the safety hole. Defensively, Cleveland was juggling too many players. Covering players and breaking up passes was hard to stabilize, which ultimately hurt the Browns in coverage on deep routes.
The key characteristic of Johnson that is essential to Cleveland is his versatility. At 6-0, 209 pounds, this Maryland native does not just specialize in one role. Johnson has proven he can divide his time equally between man and zone coverage roles, as well as entering the box as a run blocker. The safety also has the ability to cover top receivers, which is something that will absolutely benefit Cleveland next season.
The biggest change that Browns fans should see in 2021 is better support in the secondary. With Johnson filling the leadership role Cleveland was looking for, it should be sure that the Browns will use his eyes to keep a close watch across the field. With defensive back Grant Delpit expected to return this season, there should be much better coverage in the secondary, if Johnson and Delpit create the partnership many Browns fans are hoping for.
John Johnson’s Initial Bark
Earlier this week, Johnson filmed a short video for Cleveland Browns fans announcing his excitement on his move to Ohio. Not only did this amp up Cleveland fans, but ending the video with a quick bark was enough for many to initiate him into the infamous Dawg Pound.
With Johnson starting his next journey in Cleveland, 2021 is already looking bright for the Browns. Word has been circulating that another NFL team offered Johnson a significant more amount of money, but it seems as if the Boston College safety was not seeking the highest coin. This is promising for Cleveland, as fans can be assured Johnson is ready for business, not fame.