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
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.
– 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.
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.
These are the top free agents on the market this offseason and they will demand a lot of money.
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
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
Round One: (pick 10):
Regardless of what happens in free agency, the Browns need to address the offensive tackle position with this pick.
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