Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Browns re-sign Anthony Walker

    Before the Cleveland Browns announced their addition of Elijah Moore from a trade with the New York Jets, the story of the day from Berea was the return of veteran linebacker Anthony Walker on a one-year agreement.

No terms disclosed as of now for the third one-year deal for the former Northwestern Wildcat's return to Cleveland as the likely starting middle/MIKE linebacker unless the Browns unexpectedly sign/draft someone that forces Walker to the bench.

Walker missed most of the season in 2022 when he suffered a season-ending torn quad in a week three win over Pittsburgh but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

Walker is beloved in the locker room and by fans for his high motor and character, so this is a popular return to Cleveland for Walker and it's tough to deny that the Browns run defense turned rancid after losing Walker for the year.

The run defense was affected by the loss of Walker as soon as the following week as the Browns were favored to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta and allowed two hundred and two yards to non-entities Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley, which would set the game plan for the remainder of the season for every Cleveland opponent.

In 2021, Walker's first season as a Brown, Walker finished with 69 solo tackles with 44 assisted in thirteen games, so he's steady but honestly, there are so many linebackers that come and go with the Browns that are tackle accumulators that fantasy owners love but they make those tackles downfield and generally lack impact, although it can be said that their impact is felt a bit more when they are missing from the field.

I wish the Browns had a playmaker at linebacker that could change a game at any time and maybe Jeremiah Owosu-Koramoah might be the guy eventually but guys like Walker are generally easy to find on any given free agent period.

I'm not against bringing back Walker, he's a solid player, a good mentor, well-liked, and isn't going to hurt you for the most part but while he will help against the run, he's a linebacker that will need the defensive tackles in front of him to occupy blockers for Walker to maximize his effectiveness as he's not a defender that runs around or sheds blocks.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Browns drafted a linebacker with one of their third or fourth-round picks with Walker's injury history and Jacob Phillips being a disappointment thus far in his Cleveland term, the Browns could be in the market for a young linebacker to get into the pipeline to learn from a veteran such as Anthony Walker and hopefully step in for him as early as 2024. 

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