Report: Two Key Browns From 2023 Season Will Test Free Agency

The Browns have a long list of free agents to sort through this offseason, but two key members of the 2023 playoff team are expected to test the open market.

From the couch to the Browns starting QB, Flacco captivated NFL consumers as one of the best stories of the 2023 season.

After leading Cleveland on a memorable run to the playoffs, Flacco was honored with the league’s AP Comeback Player of the Year Award earlier this month, as a cherry on top of his unforgettable performance.

All that extra attention, however, could mean the 16-year-veteran finds a new home next season, despite the fact that many fans hope he returns to Northeast

According to Mary Kay Cabot of, Flacco is one of two key Browns free agents expecting to test free agency when the new league year opens up in a few short weeks. Flacco has expressed on numerous occasions already that he would love an opportunity to return to the Browns next season, but as Cabot notes, his primary desire is to go to explore his options in hopes of finding a team that could give him a starting job or at least allow him to compete for the role.

Flacco had a renaissance season with the Browns after joining the team in Week 11, only to seize the starting job one Week later after an injury to rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Super Bowl XLVII MVP went on to throw for 1,616 yards and 13 touchdowns, while leading the team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2020. During that run, Flacco became the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for 300-plus yards in four straight games.

The 39-year-old isn’t the only high profile Browns player expected to dip his toe in the free agent waters though. Cabot also names edge rusher Za’Darius Smith as another free agent let the market determine his value before making any decisions about his future.

There does appear to be interest from the Browns in bringing Smith back, who complimented Myles Garrett very well on the opposite side of the defensive line. Smith only finished the season with 5.5 sacks but made his presence felt on what was a deep defensive line for Cleveland this past season. Bringing back Smith would also go a long way in the locker room as he became a key voice in the locker room in 2023. Smith will turn 32 at the start of next season.

Spencer German is a contributor to the Northeast Ohio cluster of sites, including Cavs Insider, Cleveland Baseball Insider and most notably Browns Digest. He also works as a fill-in host on Cleveland Sports Radio, 92.3 The Fan, one of the Browns radio affiliate stations in Cleveland.

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