Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images
The Browns safety is coming off of a down year, but has been a vocal supporter of Cleveland.
How and When He Joined the Browns: During the 2018 offseason, the Browns traded QB DeShone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for Randall. Cleveland also swapped positions in their fourth and fifth round picks with the Packers, as Randall was set to transition from cornerback to free safety in Cleveland.
Productivity Level Last Season: Cleveland exercised the fifth-year option on Randall’s rookie contract in 2019 keeping him with the club for $9.069 million. Randall had a significant decline from his previous season, starting 11 games. He finished the year with 61 tackles and 2.5 sacks, but for the first time in his career did not register a single interception (he had 3 or 4 interceptions each year to begin his career).
According to Pro Football Focus, Randall’s snap distribution in 2019 was as follows under Steve Wilks’ watch: 202 snaps box safety, 88 slot cornerback, 407 free safety. PFF had him graded as the 40th-best safety in 2019; but gone was his playmaking ability, and there were a few tackles he missed as the last line of defense.
Why Keeping Him Could Make Sense: When things are going well for Randall, there is no doubt that he brings a lot of swagger and hype to the Browns’ defense (remember his sideline confrontation with Hue Jackson in 2018). He was also vocal about his support for the city. After that tremendous 2018 season, and knowing that Randall was entering the final year of his deal in 2019, the vibe was that he is going to want to be paid like a top-tier safety.
A lackluster season soured me on him, but maybe it shouldn’t? We saw several players on Cleveland’s defense like Denzel Ward and Joe Schobert take steps back — so maybe Randall would rekindle his playmaking ability under new defensive coordinator Joe Woods. In the 2018 version of Randall is what the Browns were getting, I’d be in favor of locking him up to a long-term deal.
What the Browns Should Do: It’s always tough to risk paying a player big money when they are coming off of a down season. Here is the thing that may work in Cleveland’s favor, though: I don’t think Randall is going to be coveted as a top-of-the-line safety by other teams, and Cleveland might be his best opportunity at getting a decent long-term deal.
Does Andrew Berry have an interest in him? Maybe — but this is a case where I think Cleveland will opt to upgrade the position through free agency, as discussed by the DBN staff. I would not be disappointed if the Browns were able to retain Randall on a relatively above average deal; I’m just not expecting that to happen, though, because I think he is going to seek $12 million/year.
Let us know below whether or not the team should try to re-sign Damarious Randall.