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Safety Juan Thornhill agrees to 3-year, $21 million deal

The Browns found their new free safety.

He’s a two-time Super Bowl champion.

Juan Thornhill agreed Wednesday night to a three-year, $21 million contract with $14 million fully guaranteed, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram.

He’ll replace John Johnson III, who was officially released.


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Thornhill, 27, was drafted by Kansas City in the second round in 2019 out of the University of Virginia. He’s started 52 of 65 games in four years with the Chiefs, who beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl last month. They also won in Thornhill’s rookie season.

“#DawgPound what up baby !!!!! Let’s Gooooo,” he tweeted.

General manager Andrew Berry has spent the early part of free agency getting players for new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo agreed to deals Monday, and linebacker Sione Takitaki agreed Tuesday to re-sign.

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Berry added to the pile late Wednesday night by agreeing to a one-year contract with defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, a league source confirmed. Brad Stainbrook was first with the news.

Hurst (6-foot-2, 291 pounds) was a fifth-round pick of the Raiders out of Michigan in 2018. He’s started 17 of 42 games with eight sacks and an interception.

He was limited by ankle and calf injuries to two games with the 49ers in 2021, then missed all of last season with a torn biceps suffered in training camp.

Schwartz has a history of using a safety in the deep middle of the field. Thornhill would fit that role, with strong safety Grant Delpit expected to spend much of his time near the line of scrimmage. Delpit, a second-round pick in 2020, played well down the stretch last season.

Thornhill (6-0, 203 pounds) has the explosiveness required to cover sideline to sideline. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine and posted a 44-inch vertical jump and an 11-9 broad jump.

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He started all 16 regular-season games he played in 2022, totaling three interceptions, nine passes defensed, 71 tackles, four for loss, a sack and two quarterback hits. For his career, he has eight interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, 20 passes defensed, 234 tackles, five for loss, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and four quarterback hits.

The Browns are trying to return to the playoffs after falling short the last two years. In nine postseason games, Thornhill has started six times with 29 tackles, nine passes defensed and a tackle for loss. He was part of the Chiefs team that ousted the Browns in the divisional round in 2020.

The Browns decided last month to cut Johnson. He didn’t live up to the three-year, $33.75 million contract he signed as a priority free agent in 2021, and his release with a post-June 1 designation saved the Browns $9.75 million in salary cap space.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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