Instant Reaction: Grading the Dalvin Tomlinson free agent signing
The Cleveland Browns took a great step forward to fixing the defensive line on Monday during the NFL free agency legal tampering after they signed Dalvin Tomlinson to a four-year contract. Tomlinson is the exact type of player the team was missing that can make a massive impact against the run in the middle of the line. At 324 pounds he isn’t easily moved and can take on double teams to keep his linebackers clean and close rushing lanes up the middle.
Let’s take a look at every angle of this signing to grade the big move of the day from the Cleveland Browns. Tomlinson is instantly the best defensive tackle on the roster by a wide margin.
First and foremost Dalvin Tomlinson excels as a run defender that can put pressure on the quarterback from time to time. He finished with a 77.1 overall grade last year from PFF to go with his 24 stop tackles, 29 quarterback pressures, and two-and-a-half sacks. You aren’t signing Tomlinson to be a dominant rusher but it’s hard to argue he isn’t one of the better run stuffers at the position.
The things that Tomlinson does best do not show up on the stat sheet but you can trust if he is on the field there won’t be gaping holes in the middle of the line for offenses to exploit like last year.
Production Grade: B-
Dalvin Tomlinson is playing out of his mind so far pic.twitter.com/q5QeZTBBQR
— Theo Ash (@TheoAshNFL) December 11, 2022
The defensive tackle market exploded with guys like Javon Hargrave, Daron Payne, and Dre’Mont Jones getting contracts of around 20 million a season. Getting Dalvin Tomlinson, the best-run defender of the four, for less than 15 million a season feels like a great move for the Browns.
They were able to get the most important aspect missing in a big run-stopper while also not overpaying like some of the other defensive tackle contracts. In terms of getting the most bang for your buck, this is a great contract for the Browns with most of the guarantees in the first two seasons.
Financials Grade: A
A lot was said about the Browns needing to find a strong run stuffer for Jim Schwartz since he was hired in January. He thrives on his ability to move guys around on the defensive line to exploit offensive lines. But the biggest thing is his need for a stud defensive tackle you can count on to push the pocket and stop the run, and that’s exactly what they get with Tomlinson.
Tomlinson also had one of his better pass-rushing seasons last year with 29 pressures, 2.5 sacks, and a pass-rush grade of 79.1 from PFF in 2022. He is by far the best defensive tackle on the roster right now and exactly what the doctor ordered for the Browns in 2023.
Fit Grade: A
Welcome to Cleveland, Dalvin Tomlinson 😎 pic.twitter.com/2pwAnjaDwt
— McNeil (@Reflog_18) March 14, 2023
The overall grade
Tomlinson wasn’t the best defensive tackle on the market but he was the best-run defender and he is a massive upgrade to a historically bad run defense. He is a consistent player that has a track record of solid pass-rush play and doing the dirty work against the run and making an impact in that phase.
When you step back and look at the Browns’ biggest need this signing partially checks that box and paired with the Ogbo signing is a great start to upgrading a bad defensive line. There is still work to be done but getting Tomlinson should be something that excites fans about the direction of the defense.
Overall Grade: B+
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