Safety Juan Thornhill signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Cleveland Browns. Thornhill won two Super Bowls with the Kansas Chiefs in four seasons with the team.

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Thornhill, a second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, played four seasons at the University of Virginia, where he twice earned All-ACC honors. As a member of the Chiefs, he immediately earned the role as starting free safety and played in 74 games for the team between 2019 and 2022.

Immediately after signing with Cleveland, Thornhill seemed to begin recruiting others around the league. The new Browns defender took to Twitter, reaching out to former teammate Mecole Hardman and reminding him they were in the same draft class. Hardman, a longtime wide receiver for Kansas City, entered free agency and has received interest from a number of teams.

Thornhill should provide a slight upgrade to Cleveland’s secondary in 2023, even if that aspect of the team’s game plan wasn’t especially troubling for most of last season. The Browns’ struggles primarily came on the other side of the ball, as quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Deshaun Watson both failed to successfully pilot the offense.

The team has done very little to bolster the depth chart on the offensive side this offseason, but there are still several receivers available, namely Odell Beckham Jr., D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen, to work alongside Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. Cleveland’s running game is already secure with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt under contract.

Thornhill isn’t necessarily a splashy move, especially for a team that went 7-10 and missed the playoffs last season. But at most positions, it’s difficult to improve significantly over what the Browns currently have. Their success in seasons to come will essentially come down to how well Watson can work with coaches while the front office makes subtle changes to the depth chart to better suit the quarterback’s skill set.

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