The Cleveland Browns are signing former Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill to fill their need at safety.
The deal with Thornhill is for three years and worth $21 million, with $14 million fully guaranteed, per Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. The move fills one of the most significant voids for the Browns defense, who were in the market for a new safety after parting ways with veteran John Johnson III earlier this offseason.
Thornhill was a second-round pick of the Chiefs in 2019 and won a pair of Super Bowls with the club. He has started 52 games in his career, collecting eight interceptions. He’s coming off his best season as a pro, notching 71 total tackles and posting a grade of 71.5 on Pro Football Focus.
Thornhill put out his own response to the news via Twitter.
“DawgPound what up baby!!!!!” Thornhill tweeted. “Let’s Gooooo.”
Browns Have Made Some Significant Additions to Defense
The Browns have made some significant moves to reshape their defense in free agency. Earlier in the week, the Browns locked up defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson with a four-year, $57 million deal with $27.5 million guaranteed.
Tomlinson has started all 93 games he’s appeared in during his career, including 13 last year with the Minnesota Vikings. He posted 42 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits and a forced fumble in 13 games played.
Another splash was bringing in former Rams and Texans pass-rusher Ogbo Okoronkwo, who will likely start opposite of Myles Garrett.
Okoronkwo isn’t a household name but is an upgrade for the Browns, who are moving on from Jadeveon Clowney. 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.”
Browns Building Attacking Defense Under Jim Schwartz
The Browns reshaping of the defense started right after the season with the firing of Joe Woods. Cleveland moved fairly quickly and hired veteran coordinator Jim Schwartz to be the leader of the unit.
The Browns’ defense had high expectations but was disappointing last year, with inconsistency being a significant issue for the unit. Schwartz is looking to bring more of an attacking mentality to the unit.
“I like to call it an ‘attack defense,’” Schwartz told the Browns’ official site in February. “We’re not a ‘read’ team up front. We’re an ‘attack’ team. We’re going to be disruptive. We’re hitting spots. It’s probably not as wide as it used to be, but it’s pretty simple in theory.
“It allows the players to play fast and puts them in the best position to rush the quarterback and play the run in between.”
The Browns have also done some work with their own free agents, re-signing center Ethan Pocic, cornerback AJ Green and linebacker Sione Takitaki.