Just days before the 2018 NFL free agent market was set to open, the Cleveland Browns went all in, making a remarkable four trades in less than 24 hours! I won’t be incredibly long winded on this particular article, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share (for the first time ever) my excitement over where the Cleveland Browns might be headed this season.
The 2017 NFL season wasn’t what you may call “kind” to the Browns, finishing with a 0-16 record bringing their team record to 1-31 over the last two seasons. Now, it is easy to throw out the old narrative of “Well, the Browns just stink”, but that really isn’t a very thorough assessment. Of the sixteen losses this year, five of them came down to just one score. Not just that, three of those games happened to be against eventual playoff teams, Steelers twice and Titans. So one could argue that the talent is there, and maybe the team only needs a little push to get over the hump. Well, that is exactly what GM John Dorsey has done in the last few hours. Let’s dig in on what the moves that are being made can mean to the Browns in the upcoming season.
WR Jarvis Landry for Draft picks (’18 4th and ’19 7th)
In what seemed like only minutes after Jarvis Landry agreed to play under the Miami Dolphins’ franchise tag, the Cleveland Browns scooped him up via trade, sending two draft picks to the Dolphins in exchange for the reception monster that is Landry. The acquisition looks juicy on paper, the three time Pro Bowler brings a very reliable short-yardage possession receiver to the Browns, that if used correctly, can keep the offensive unit on the field for extended drives, and hopefully, points. I love the value the LSU product gives this offense immediately.
QB Tyrod Taylor for a 2018 3rd
A huge question surrounding Cleveland this year had to do with the quarterback situation. They had just acquired Jarvis Landry, but could Kizer or an incoming rookie get him the ball effectively? This was answered rather quickly when the Browns sent a third-round draft pick to the Buffalo Bills in order to bring Tyrod Taylor aboard. Personally, I love this trade for the Browns. I am what many would call a Tyrod truther, I believe the seven-year pro is an undervalued QB in the NFL and is precisely the type of quarterback Cleveland needs to wins some of those close games. Taylor brings ball security to the Browns offense, something desperately needed after a 22 interception season from Deshone Kizer. Beyond that, the Virginia Tech alum brings a lot of heart. After being benched last year against the LA Chargers, Taylor was thrust into mop-up duty in the second half of a blowout game. The Bills QB threw for 158 yards and a touchdown, adding another TD with his legs. The maneuverability, security, and effort that Tyrod brings to the Cleveland Browns will be a big upgrade to this offensive unit as a whole, while allowing a drafted prospect time to develop.
QB Deshone Kizer for CB Damarious Randall
While not as blockbuster as the other trades, the Browns did send Deshone Kizer to Green Bay for CB Damarious Randall. While not a shutdown corner, the Arizona St product is graded at 70.9 (average) according to Pro Football Focus. This, in my opinion, helps both teams and players. Kizer gets to now sit behind one of the leagues best quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers, as he continues his development as a player while also supplying the Cleveland defense with some help on the outside.
DT Danny Shelton to Pats for 2019 mid-round pick.
The trades aren’t the end of the story for the Cleveland Browns either. They still possess the first and fourth pick in the 2018 NFL draft and have plenty of cap space to sign free agents when the free agent market opens soon. If this team’s coaching staff can figure out how to use the new pieces they have, and will, acquire, then as I said before, this becomes a very interesting team to watch in 2018!