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NFL free agency news: Lions lose out on John Johnson to Browns

Perhaps the most-wanted free agent by Lions fans will instead sign with Cleveland.

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes will not be bringing former Los Angeles Rams safety John Johnson with him. As first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Johnson has agreed to a deal with the Cleveland Browns. The deal is a three-year contract worth $33.75 million with $24 million guaranteed, per NFL Network.

Johnson was a logical fit with the Lions, seeing as safety is a big need for the Lions and Johnson would bring both leadership and experience to Detroit, as they attempt to build a new defensive scheme similar to what the Rams ran in Los Angeles.

Detroit was reportedly in on negotiations for Johnson. Per CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones, the Lions were one of four teams that expressed interest in signing Johnson, along with the Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Now, the Lions will have to find a backup plan at safety. While they could have two potential starters in Tracy Walker and Will Harris, it’s clear they were looking to upgrade at that position. Unfortunately, three of the top safeties in this free agency class—Justin Simmons, Marcus Williams and Marcus Maye—were given the franchise tag. Current free agent options include Vikings safety Anthony Harris and Falcons safety Keanu Neal.