Browns officially announce Johnson, McKinley deals

Deals finalized as new NFL year kicked off on Wednesday
Updated: Mar. 17, 2021 at 5:08 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Browns are kicking off the new league year by adding one of the NFL’s top safeties to their secondary, as well as a talented pass rusher.

John Johnson III, who spent the past four years shining as a leader on the Rams defense, has agreed to terms with the Browns, who are set to welcome one of the NFL’s top-rated players to a position group that could have a much different look in 2021.

According to spotrac, Johnson’s deal is for three years at $33,750,000, including a $12,000,000 signing bonus and $24,000,000 guaranteed.

“Really excited about what John Johnson is going to bring to our defense and our back end in particular,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “He’s a dynamic player that will fit in well with our group. On top of that, I’m excited about the person, as much as I am about the player. He was the captain of the team out there in Los Angeles at such a young age and all the people that I’ve spoken to about him consistently rave about the person that he is and the leader he is for a football team, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to add him to the team.”

Johnson, who is entering his fifth season, comes to Cleveland after racking up a team-best 105 tackles, an interception and eight passes defensed for a Rams defense that finished No. 1 in the NFL in total defense and No. 1 in pass defense. Pro Football Focus gave Johnson a grade of 85.3 for the 2020 season, putting him third in the league among safeties.

The Browns also announced the one-year, $4,250,000 deal with defensive end Takk McKinley.

McKinley, a former first-round pick out of UCLA, spent the majority of the past four seasons with the Falcons. He appeared in 49 games with 25 starts, four of which coming at the start of the 2020 season before an injury led to his exit from Atlanta. McKinley spent brief amounts of time with the Bengals and 49ers before finishing the season on injured reserve with the Raiders.

McKinley compiled 17.5 sacks and 45 hits on the quarterback during his time with Atlanta. His most sacks came in 2018, when he posted seven in his first year as a starter.

“Takk is a skilled young player with tremendous upside,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We like his pass rush ability and the way he has gotten after the QB throughout his young career. Defensive line was a position that we felt we wanted to address during free agency, and we are excited to add Takk and the impactful tools he possesses to the group that will help make the plays we need along the line.”

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