Though they had a solid 2020, the Cleveland Browns still have a lot of offseason work to do, starting with upgrading their defense which allowed 26.2 points per game, ranking 21st of 32 teams in the NFL.
One position that needs to be upgraded is the linebacker spot, which struggled to make plays in the 2020 season.
One player who could help in that department is free agent LB Lavonte David of the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
David isn’t going to be a cheap option. Last season, he made $10.7 million with Tampa, and he inked a five-year deal worth $50.2 million with them back in 2016. At the time, David got $25.5 million from the Bucs guaranteed, and no matter where he goes, he’ll likely get that from his new team.
The 31-year-old totaled 117 tackles in 2020, 12 of them for a loss. The former All-Pro also forced three fumbles.
Tampa probably isn’t going to be able to afford David on the open market, despite the fact that the Buccaneers have $30.3 million in cap space.
Cleveland has been in the mix for free agent defensive end J.J. Watt, but the team really needs to fill the linebacker hole before they overspend for a player like Watt, a big name who will cost a fortune.
David is a solid player who could start right away on a Browns defense that needs to improve significantly in 2021 if they want to challenge in the AFC.
If David isn’t in the cards, look for the team to hunt for a player who can be impactful at the linebacker spot.
If David is willing to play for cheaper than the $10 million a season he has been getting paid, the sides just might be able to come to a deal.