Fixing the Cleveland Browns

The Browns had one of the most disappointing seasons in recent NFL history. In 2016, they won 1 game. In 2017, they won zero games. In 2018, after firing Head Coach Hue Jackson mid season, they went 7-8-1. In the offseason, they acquired star WR Odell Beckham Jr., and became a top-5 predicted team to win the Super Bowl. The Browns finished 6-10, fired first year Head Coach Freddie Kitchens, and cleaned out the front office yet again.

Exactly what went so wrong with this young and promising Browns’ team? Below I’ll list all the big decisions the Browns should make this offseason to help turn them around; but the main problem for the Browns has already been fixed — the firing of Kitchens was necessary as the locker room was a mess stemming from a lack of leadership.

Cap Space: $58 Million

Cut:

I will no longer be listing cuts in these articles because they are already happening. The Browns have cut several players and are rumored to cut several more this week.

Resign:

Rashard Higgins, WR

Higgins is a great receiving option behind Beckham and Landry, as long as the price tag isn’t too high.

Kareem Hunt, RB

Hunt’s off field issues are well known, but the Browns signed him last year anyway. Nothing further off field has happened, Hunt didn’t have great production when he came back from suspension, so I don’t see why the Browns wouldn’t bring him back on a cheap one-year deal.

Joe Schobert, LB

Schobert has a phenomenal season and should be the biggest resigning priority for the Browns this offseason.

– Juston Burris, CB

Burris played very well this season and is a great piece in the secondary in Cleveland.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE

The Browns need to figure out the tight end position, and Seals-Jones needs to be a part of that discussion.

Bryan Cox Jr., DL

There are rumors swirling that the Browns will cut Olivier Vernon, so resigning Cox is a necessity if that happens.

– Khadarel Hodge, WR

Hodge may be fighting for a roster spot come August, but he proved this season he deserves to come back on a one-year minimum deal.

Free Agency:

The Browns are one of the more interesting players in free agency this offseason. They still seem to have one of the better rosters in the NFL, although they finished in the bottom 10. They will have roughly $50 million left in cap space after their resignings, and that leaves enough to land a big free agent in this first tier, while filling out the roster with some tier two and three players.

Tier One:

These are the top free agents on the market this offseason and they will demand a lot of money.

Jack Conklin, OT
Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE
Chris Jones, DL
Yannick Ngakoue, DL

Tier Two:

This tier is full of players who won’t quite command top dollar, but the Browns should make sure they give them enough to lure them to Cleveland.

Kyle Van Noy, LB
Brandon Scherff, OL
– Shaquille Barrett, EDGE
Arik Armstead, DL
– Bud Dupree, EDGE
Jamie Collins, EDGE
Austin Hooper, TE
Andrus Peat, OG
Bruce Irvin, LB
Vic Beasley, EDGE
– Bryan Bulaga, OT
Hunter Henry, TE
– Bud Dupree, EDGE

Tier Three:

This group is made up of players that will be closer towards the middle of the league in terms of contract. Whether they’re higher in age, a career backup, or a player coming off their rookie contract that didn’t live up to pre-draft expectations.

Danny Trevathan, LB
Anthony Harris, S
Dante Fowler Jr., EDGE
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S
– Anthony Costanzo, OT
Leonard Williams, DL
Justin Simmons, S
Ezekiel Ansah, EDGE
Andrew Sendejo, S
– Matt Judon, EDGE
Darron Lee, LB
Vonn Bell, S
Eric Ebron, TE
– Daryl Williams, OT
Jimmie Ward, S
– Nick Kwiatkowski, LB
Jack Doyle, TE
Kamalei Correa, LB

Draft:

Round One: (pick 10):

Regardless of what happens in free agency, the Browns need to address the offensive tackle position with this pick.

Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Mekhi Becton, OT, Houston
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

I don’t think Wills will still be there at 10, and 10 might be a little rich for Thomas, but I really like all of these prospects as franchise left tackles. This is the order on my board, but I don’t think the Browns can go wrong here with selecting any of them.

Round Two (pick 41):

There are two big positions the Browns can look at here at 41, in tight end and safety (obviously with value permitting). I’ll also list some offensive line prospects in case the Browns don’t/can’t address it at 10 overall.

Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Trey Adams, OT, Washington
Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin
– Lloyd Cushenberry, OL, LSU
Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal

Round Three (picks 74 and 90):

In the third round, the Browns can look at linebacker, edge rusher, and interior offensive lineman with their two picks. If they can’t resign Schobert and/or they release Vernon, linebacker and edge rusher become big needs.

Matt Peart, OT, UConn
– Alaric Jackson, OT, Iowa
Tommy Kraemer, OL, Notre Dame
– Hakeem Adiniji, OL, Kansas
– Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU
Julian Blackmon, S, Utah
– K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
Joe Bachie, LB, Michigan State
Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State
Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama

Round Four (pick 105):

I like the Browns’ cornerbacks and defensive linemen, but they need to add some depth. That can start here in the fourth round.

Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon
Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
Damien Lewis, OL, LSU
Nick Harris, OL, Washington
Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford
Brandon Jones, S, Texas
Antoine Brooks Jr., S, Maryland
Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State
Jacob Phillips, LB, LSU
Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
Rashard Lawrence, DL, LSU
Nick Coe, DL, Auburn

Round Seven (pick 221):

The Browns don’t have a fifth or sixth round pick due to trades, plus this pick is actually from the Packers as their original seventh rounder was also traded. I’ll list one late prospect at every position (other than QB).

Tony Jones Jr., RB, Notre Dame
Aaron Fuller, WR, Washington
Stephen Sullivan, TE, LSU
Jon Runyan, OT, Michigan
– John Molchon, OL, Boise State
Malcolm Roach, DL, Texas
Jonathan Garvin, EDGE, Miami
David Woodward, LB, Utah State
DeMarkus Acy, CB, Missouri
David Dowell, S, Michigan State

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