[Intersaison] Cleveland Browns, ready for (re) take-off?


How to revive or how to do even better? The editorial team of touchdownactu offers you a point of view franchise by franchise: inventory of strengths and weaknesses as well as ideas for the market and the draft. Today a franchise in decline in 2021 but which retains solid arguments: the Cleveland Browns.

A sudden stop. Physics and accounting. In full revival and in clear recovery, in 2020, for the debut of Kevin Stefanski, as head coach, the Cleveland Browns were disillusioned this year, the fault of a certain number of injuries and decisions that were not always clear internally. With a record of 8 wins for 9 losses, Cleveland has logically said goodbye to the playoffs, but has long been able to regret the six losses of less than a touchdown difference, or the forty points conceded against the Patriots and more clearly against to the Chargers. In an ever more competitive AFC North, like a breathtaking Bengals team, arriving at the Super Bowl, the Browns have the weapons to fight but must replenish themselves in key positions to make weight over time.

The owners

  1. Myles Garrett (DE)
  2. Joel Bitonio (G)
  3. Nick Chubb (RB)

Wyatt Teller, Pro Bowler guard, could also have been in this ranking, given the good level of the Browns’ interior offensive line this year. Joel Bitonio was named First-Team All-Pro and continues to demonstrate his worth in the strong local ground game. A boon for Nick Chubb who, despite another incomplete season, finished a third straight year with more than 1,000 yards on the clock (1,259). In defense, is it still necessary to present Myles Garrett? Present in the top 3 sackers in the league in 2021, with a personal best of 16 quarterback tackles, the former number 1 in the draft has never provided less than 10 sacks in a season since 2018. He remains the compass defense of the Ohio franchise.


Jarvis Landry (WR)

The experience seems to be coming to an end. By bringing together the two stooges of LSU, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., in less than a year, the Browns intended to breathe new life into the position of receiver. Despite some flashes, the idyll will have ended with OBJ, finally cut off and left to join the Los Angeles Rams this winter to glean the ring he was missing. We could not put Landry in the same bag if the former Dolphins player had not posted a disappointing season, up to 570 yards and 2 touchdowns, becoming de facto the second option of the position behind the young Donovan Peoples-Jones . Problem: Landry is starting to cost a lot in finances with a salary of 16 million in 2022 and above all a saving of 15 million for the franchise if it were to part with it. A tidy sum that would perhaps allow GM Andrew Berry and his front office to start completely from scratch on the position.

Baker Mayfield is playing big in 2022.

The summer man

Baker Mayfield (QB)

What is Baker Mayfield’s real face? The question is still asked, four years after his arrival in the league. Author of a great rookie season, then of some waste in 2019, the former Heisman Trophy had been at the level of his ground game to reach the playoffs last year before experiencing a disastrous exercise this year. Certainly, his injury to the labrum seems to have long handicapped him in certain key moments. Admittedly, the passages of his tackles in the infirmary exposed him a little more (43 sacks in 2021). But the bad choices and especially the repeated ball losses (12 fumbles lost since 2018) question Mayfield’s ability to be at least an effective manager. His physical glitches could cause the franchise to wait a little longer to find him a replacement, but Mayfield is playing big after struggling to finish last season with more than 3,000 passing yards, for a total of 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

The main free agents

  1. Jadeveon Clowney (DE)
  2. David Njoku (TE)
  3. Anthony Walker (LB)
  4. Malik Jackson (DT)
  5. Malik McDowell (DT)

Others: Rashard Higgins (WR), Takk McKinley (DE), Malcolm Smith (LB), Ronnie Harrison (S), Dustin Colquitt (P), Chase McLaughlin (K).

If the defensive backfield seems to have generally found its framework, in view of the coming months, the front seven of the Browns is affected by a lot of contract endings during this offseason. From the top of his 9 sacks, Jadeveon Clowney can be a good option to support Myles Garrett but his emoluments can slow down the franchise and send the player to a fourth team in four years. The run stop has been the main flaw for the Browns in 2021, and if Walker could be resigned, the question may arise for the two Maliks at defensive tackle. Big question mark also on the kickers, with in particular a Chase McLaughlin far too tender on the post of kicker.

Top 5 Needs

  1. Recipient
  2. Defensive Tackle
  3. Kicker
  4. edge rusher
  5. Quarterback

To give Baker Mayfield one last chance to recover, the Browns will no doubt be keen to provide him with new weapons and without taking into account the Jarvis Landry salary problem, it would not be surprising to see the Ohio front office betting on a receiver and in free agency and drafting. As mentioned above, the defensive line and the kicker position must be considered and optimized. Finally, without betting on a quarterback from the first round of the draft, will Cleveland be tempted to take a developing quarterback (Carson Strong, Bailey Zappe, Kaleb Eleby)? Recall that current replacement Case Keenum will weigh $8 million on the cap in 2022…

Chris Godwin, the new star of the aerial game of the Browns?


Chris Godwin (WR)

Among the free agent receivers currently No. 2 on their team, and who could become decent No. 1s elsewhere, is Chris Godwin. If the person concerned has to recover from a tear in the cruciate ligaments suffered at the end of the 2021 season, his potential is well established, with a last exercise at 1,103 yards and 5 touchdowns, as well as an ability to break free. coverage and hitting vertical play. If Cleveland intends to become as incisive in the air as they are on the ground, offensively speaking, the Godwin choice would clearly make sense and would allow Peoples-Jones to obtain even more space to crack down on the outside.

DeMarvin Leal, a complete profile that could appeal to Andrew Berry.

The new blood

DeMarvin Leal (DT)

How to reinforce the inner pass rush and the run stop? Instead, ask DeMarvin Leal, capable of taking Texas A&M to a significant level as soon as he arrives on campus. Tall and athletic, the Aggies player has also shown himself to be very versatile to crack down on many areas. With a good first step and a solid technique on contact, « DML » has an explosive ability to penetrate the opponent’s pocket to hit the bull’s eye. If his profile is reminiscent of that of Malik Jackson, he would have the advantage of being very young and more clearly attracting double-teams to provide breaches.

Alternative : Garrett Wilson (WR), Travon Walker (DE), Travis Jones (DT)


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