Joe Woods has agreed to terms with Cleveland, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported, per a source informed of the deal. The team announced the deal on Friday.
Woods spent 2019 as the 49ers' defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator, leading a group headlined by veteran corner Richard Sherman that helped San Francisco finish as the No. 1 passing defense in the NFL. The group was undoubtedly aided by San Francisco's relentless pass rush, but Woods brings with him a resume that also includes four years spent in Denver, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2017-2018 and defensive backs coach in 2015 and 2016.
"It's good to be back in this role," Woods said. "I felt like I learned a lot from my time in Denver. It's really about managing people, game-planning and how to call a game, so I feel like I'm more prepared now than I was then.
"When you have pieces in place and with the additions we'll make in free agency and the draft, I feel like we can really get something accomplished here this next season."
Anchored by a secondary known as the "No Fly Zone," the Broncos owned the No. 1 passing defense in 2015 and 2016. Denver ranked fourth in the league against the pass in 2017 before falling to 20th in 2018.
Woods moves to Cleveland to work with promising cornerbacks Denzel Ward (2018 Pro Bowl selection) and Greedy Williams. He'll need to acclimate potential new additions at safety with Damarious Randall headed toward free agency and Morgan Burnett working toward returning from a season-ending Achilles injury.
Cleveland finished as the No. 7 defense against the pass in 2019, thanks in part to a consistent pass rush applied by the likes of Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon. An injury to Vernon and indefinite suspension for Garrett hurt the Browns' defense down the stretch, but it could return to prominence in 2020 with Woods in charge and Garrett potentially returning, depending on whether Commissioner Roger Goodell decides to reinstate Garrett.