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Cleveland Browns will address defense in free agency


Rushing the passer isn't a quality the Cleveland Browns have mastered in recent years. Stopping the run hasn't been a cakewalk, either.

Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer reported Wednesday the team is looking to address both issues in free agency. A trio of big names -- Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, Detroit Lions pass rusher Cliff Avril and Paul Kruger of the Baltimore Ravens -- all are on the radar, league sources told Cabot.

After two seasons in a vanilla 4-3 scheme, the Browns plan to go on the attack in new coordinator Ray Horton's 3-4 defense. With holes at outside linebacker, interest in Kruger and Avril (who played end in Detroit) makes sense.

Bryant's arrest on a criminal mischief charge earlier this month is a concern, but the 6-foot-6, 311-pound tackle is solid against the run and pass. Avril, meanwhile, is a natural at pursuing the quarterback and he's only 26.

But Avril won't come cheap. Neither will Kruger, reportedly seeking close to $10 million per year.

Cabot also listed former Arizona Cardinals outsider linebacker Quentin Groves as a potential target. The Browns have plenty of cap space, but they haven't used free-agent channels to build the team in recent years. That might change with the new regime in place, but this remains more of a wish list than a reality.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.