The Cleveland Browns are planning to part ways with a defensive starter, as they will release safety John Johnson III at the start of the new league year if they cannot find a trade partner, per NFL Media. Just 27-years-old, Johnson should have several teams interested in him.
"I appreciate the Cleveland Browns for the opportunity," Johnson told Cleveland.com. "The city is truly one of a kind. I wish that I could've done more while here; however, I know that my best ball is ahead of me. I pray great things for my former teammates."
Many expected Johnson to be traded or cut this offseason, as he's entering the final year of his three-year contract which carries a base salary of $8.75 million in 2023, per Spotrac. If Johnson is released with a June 1 designation, the Browns will save $9.75 million with a dead hit of only $3.75 million, per Cleveland.com. In March of 2021, the former Ram signed a three-year deal with the Browns worth $33.75 million with $24 million guaranteed.
Last season with Cleveland, Johnson recorded 101 combined tackles, four passes defensed and one interception. In 2021, he recorded 61 combined tackles, five passes defensed and tied for the team lead with three interceptions in 15 games played. While the Browns are parting ways with Johnson, the safety position and secondary in general is an area that Cleveland is still looking to improve this offseason.