The Cleveland Browns have signed veteran safety Rodney McLeod, adding a veteran presence to their secondary.
The 32-year-old McLeod is coming off a strong year with the Indianapolis Colts. He started 15 games and was a key part of the Colts defense, notching career highs with eight pass deflections, eight tackles for losses and 96 total tackles. He also had two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
ESPN’s Jake Trotter first reported the signing of McLeod, which is a one-year deal.
McLeod has the ability to play both free and strong safety. He’ll likely function as a reliable backup to Grant Delpit and Juan Thornhill, who the Browns brought in this offseason on a three-year deal.
McLeod has a strong resume, starting 138 games over his career. He’s never made a Pro Bowl but has been an above-average starter since 2013. McLeod — a former undrafted player — won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017. His defensive coordinator during that title run was Jim Schwartz, who is now wearing that hat with the Cleveland Browns.
McLeod has been a long-time starter, so it will be interesting if he has to adjust to a backup role. However, his leadership qualities are likely something the Browns took into consideration when making the move.
“I’ve been the OG in the room for a little bit, my time back in Philly,” McLeod said ahead of last season after joining the Colts. “I’ve been fortunate enough to also learn from a lot of guys before I was placed in that position. I’ve learned a lot, and obviously I’m now in that position to be able to help and guide others.”
Browns Hinted at Veteran Safety Need After Draft
The Browns have done a solid job filling some much-needed holes this offseason but were in search of a veteran safety. Last season the Browns functioned with John Johnson III, Delpit and Ronnie Harrison.
After the NFL draft, Browns general manager Andrew Berry was asked about the need for a veteran safety but gave a more general answer.
“I’d say there’s a need everywhere,” Berry said. “We’re just trying to add talent and competition.”
Competition is a theme for the Browns when it comes to this period of free agency and finalizing the roster.
“I mean, I think any player that you bring into the organization, whether it’s through draft, whether it through free agency, whether it’s through a trade or some other means, you are hopeful that you can easier raise the floor and/or ceiling a position group,” Berry said. “We have the same aspirations for this class of seven players, but we have to wait and see until they hit the grass.”
Browns Still in Hunt for Veteran Running Back
On the offensive side of the ball, the Browns could use an additional veteran at running back. Cleveland has All-Pro Nick Chubb to lead the way but the depth behind him is questionable at best.
With Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson gone, the Browns will rely on Jerome Ford as the primary backup to Chubb. That appeared to be the plan for the former fifth-round pick when he was drafted in 2022 but his eight carries for 12 yards as a rookie hardly inspired confidence.
The Browns are searching for a veteran option, per Brad Stainbrook of the Orange and Brown Report. Their options are limited, although notable names like Leonard Fournette, Ezekiel Elliott and Hunt still remain available.