The Browns were taken into the late evening of the first day of the negotiating period, but they eventually landed a big-ticket defensive tackle.
The Browns will sign former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson when the new league year opens on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. Tomlinson’s deal will be for four years and $57 million, with $27.5 million guaranteed.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was the first to report.
Defensive tackle was seen as a huge position of need for the Browns, as that position group had been ranked among the worst in the NFL the previous season. Outside of Taven Bryan, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2018 first-round pick, who signed a one-year deal with Cleveland, everyone else in the defensive-tackle rotation had three years or less in the league.
The struggles of that position group played a major role in the Browns’ overall struggles on defense, especially against the run. This led to a change in defensive coordinators, with Joe Woods being fired and Jim Schwartz being hired.
Brown was considered to be in the mix for Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, who was the top of the interior defensive line free-agency class. However, Hargrave reportedly agreed to a four-year, $84 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers.
Brown, the other defensive lineman, was known to have interest in Cleveland native and Ohio State product Dray’mont Jones, a 3-4 end for the Denver Broncos, who eventually signed a three-year, $51 million deal from the Seattle Seahawks.
Once that happened, Brown turned his attention to the other top defensive tackles on the market. That brought them to Tomlinson, 29, who was a 2017 second-round pick by the New York Giants out of the University of Alabama.
One concern about Tomlinson is that he is coming off a first season where injuries were any kind of problem. He missed four games in the middle of the season due to a calf injury, the only time in his career he missed that many games.
When Tomlinson was healthy, he was one of the top interior defensive linemen in football. Over 13 regular-season games, he collected 42 combined tackles with 2.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and three tackles for loss.
Tomlinson made four tackles, including a tackle for a loss in the Vikings’ wild-card round loss to his former team, the Giants. It was the only playoff appearance of his career.
The former Crimson Tide defensive lineman played in and started 64 games in his first four seasons with New York. He signed with Minnesota ahead of the 2021 season, and played in 29 games, all starts with the Vikings.
In his six-year career, Tomlinson recorded 288 combined tackles, including 143 solo, with 26 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and 37 quarterback hits. He also forced two fumbles and recovered a pair.
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This article was originally published on the Akron Beacon Journal: Cleveland Browns to sign ex-Vikings DT Dalvin Tomlinson