‘Most Underpaid’ Browns Player Likely to Cash In After Pro Bowl Year

The Cleveland Browns haven’t shied away from spending over the past couple years to build a playoff roster, which makes the players they have on value deals that much more crucial to success.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah still feels 'fast and quick' with added weight

Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report on April 12 named linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah as the team’s “most underpaid player” heading into next season, the last of his four-year rookie deal worth just $6.5 million total.

“The 2021 second-round pick broke out with 101 tackles, 3.5 sacks, [2] picks and [6] passes defended in a Pro Bowl 2023 campaign and will cost the Browns just $2.1 million in the final year of his rookie contract in 2024,” Gagnon wrote.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in Line for Big Pay Raise if He Produces Solid 4th Season for Browns

Owusu-Koramoah would have likely seen a raise following the 2024 season regardless, considering how little he is playing for currently in respect to other high-end linebackers around the league.

Nine players at the position earn at least $10 million annually, per Over The Cap, with Roquan Smith of the Baltimore Ravens leading the way with an annual average salary of $20 million. At 24 years old, Owusu-Koramoah is younger than all of those players, and at least two years the junior of each one of them, save for Patrick Queen of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Exactly how much Owusu-Koramoah can earn on his second NFL contract will be determined by how he plays during the upcoming year, but the number figures to be significant if he can remain relatively healthy and reproduce, or even outdo, his performance from 2023.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranked Owusu-Koramoah as the 18th-best linebacker out of 82 players who saw enough snaps to qualify at the position last season. He rated out as a borderline elite-level pass rusher across 75 pass-rush snaps with a grade of 84.2, per PFF. Owusu-Koramoah was also solid in pass coverage and above-average against the run, per PFF’s advanced analytics formula.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Only Starting Browns’ LB to Return to Cleveland in 2024

Owusu-Koramoah is the only one of the Browns’ three starting linebackers from 2023 who will return next season, as both defensive captain Anthony Walker Jr. and Sione Takitaki departed in free agency.

Walker, plagued by injury over the past two campaigns, signed a one-year deal to join the Miami Dolphins. Meanwhile, Takitaki inked a two-year agreement with the New England Patriots.

Based on Cleveland’s current depth chart, via ESPN, Jordan Hicks will join Owusu-Koramoah in a middle linebacker role and Devin Bush will occupy the spot of SAM linebacker.

Given the lack of depth at the position, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Browns attempt to address linebacker in the upcoming NFL draft, which begins on Friday, April 26. Cleveland won’t make its first pick until No. 54 overall in the second round.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com identified linebacker as among the Browns’ top five positional needs on April 15.

“They can use some young linebackers now that they let Anthony Walker Jr. and Sione Takitaki walk in free agency,” Cabot wrote.

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