The Cleveland Browns landed their big free agent acquisition on Monday night, locking up former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson with a hefty deal.
The Browns are expected to ink Tomlinson to a four-year, $57 million deal with $27.5 million guaranteed, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Tomlinson will team up with Myles Garrett to be the pillars of the Browns’ defensive line for the foreseeable future.
Tomlinson has played six seasons with the New York Giants (2017-2020) and Vikings (2021-2022). He’s started all 93 games he’s appeared in during his career, including 13 last year with Minnesota. He posted 42 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits and a forced fumble in 13 games played.
The Browns had their eyes on some other big-name free agent defensive tackles like Javon Hargrave and Dre’Mont Jones. However, Tomlinson was their “preferred option,” per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
The signing addresses one of the most significant needs for the Browns, who struggled mightily to stop the run with any consistency last season. And with new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz now running the show, some powerful bodies were needed up front.
“There are certain skill sets we look for and a little bit of play style that maybe other people might not appreciate as much,” Schwartz told the Browns’ official site. “They might use the person a little bit differently, and something that’s sort of involved in that scheme is that we can get guys going pretty quickly.”
Tomlinson Was Pegged as Perfect Fit For Browns
Tomlinson was ranked as the No. 3 interior defensive lineman by Pro Football Focus heading into free agency. The site predicted the Browns would land Tomlinson, who has been a consistent run-stopper and can play multiple techniques effectively on the line.
“Tomlinson is an intriguing free agent as a player coming off a two-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings, with whom he shifted from playing primarily zero- or one-technique to predominantly three-technique. Perhaps most importantly for Cleveland, Tomlinson has earned run-defense grades above 65.0 in every season of his career,” PFF wrote. “A defensive coordinator who likes to move his defensive linemen around and deploy them creatively could maximize Tomlinson’s diversity, and that description fits new Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to a tee.”
The Browns still have to figure out the other tackle position in their 4-3 look, although they could decide to go with a mix of Jordan Elliott and 2022 fourth-round pick Perrion Winfrey.
Browns Also Add Pass-Rusher in Ogbo Okoronkwo
The Browns also added a new pass-rush partner for Garrett in Ogbo Okoronkwo, agreeing to a three-year deal worth a maximum of $22 million.
Okoronkwo, 27, will bring some explosive energy opposite of Garrett, something that was missing last season. He ranked 13th in the league last year in pass rush win rate (19.0%) per ESPN and notched five sacks last year with the Texans.
“Ogbo, he’s energy, pure energy,” Texans defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire said of Okoronkwo last season. “If you look at him, he’s always got a smile on his face. He loves the game. You can tell he really loves the game. The way he rushes, the way he attacks the line of scrimmage. He’s not the biggest guy on the field, but he’s got the biggest heart. He’s a guy that you trust and rely on each play.”