Free agency hasn’t even opened up and the Browns have already rocked the NFL world with a very active few days. They have taken a vastly different approach from the past regime by putting a priority on bringing in players to help next season. The Steelers are also going to release Mike Mitchell, and I for one can’t stop laughing.
Let’s get the Browns out of the way first. I mean what a way to announce your presence John Dorsey. He is the Browns new general manager. He was brought in to rebuild a team that had only won a single game in two seasons, and he started it off with a bang.
The first move was acquiring Jarvis Landry from the Dolphins after he had been franchise tagged by the team. There are already contract talks between Landry and the Browns, so we shouldn’t be shocked to see Landry twice a season for awhile.
Landry has two seasons with over 100 catches and 1,000 yards. Last year, he was held back by a Jay Cutler-led Dolphins. He joins a Browns receiving group that already has Brandon Coleman and Josh Gordon. Provided all three can stay on the field, that is a very good combination of receivers to be throwing out there.
The cost to add Landry? A fourth round pick this year (the one they got for trading Andy Lee) and a seventh round pick in 2019.
The Browns weren’t done though. Despite a lot of people, including myself, penciling in AJ McCarron as the Browns future quarterback, the Browns traded for Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor’s time in Buffalo seemed to be up once the team inexplicably benched him in the middle of the season after the team lost a few games. The real issue was the Bills trading away players like Sammy Watkins, Marcell Dareus and Ronald Darby. Taylor eventually led the team to their first playoff appearance since 1999.
Despite all of this, Taylor was never embraced by Sean McDermott. Taylor hasn’t thrown more than six interceptions in a season with the Bills, and he has always completed at least 60 percent of his passes. He is on a one-year deal, which leaves it wide open for whatever quarterback the Browns draft to take over. All it cost them was third-round pick.
The Browns weren’t done yet, as they sent DeShone Kizer to the Packer in exchange for one of Green Bay’s starting corners, Damarious Randall. Randall was an average corner last season, but a change a scenery could do wonders for the corner.
Really this move was more about moving on from a failed partnership between Hue Jackson and Kizer. One that really falls more on Jackson failing miserably to instill any confidence into his young quarterback. He constantly benched Kizer at the first sign of struggles, which made him incredibly scared to make a mistake. The Packers and Browns also swapped spots in the fourth and fifth rounds.
The Last move the Browns made was a bit of a head scratcher. Cleveland sent Danny Shelton to the Patriots for a conditional mid-round pick in 2019. Shelton had a pretty good season last year from a run stuffing standpoint. He still has never shown any sort of ability to rush the passer, and it is clear the Browns didn’t want to pay Shelton the kind of money you’d give to a dynamic interior linemen. This does mark an interesting milestone for the Browns though.
With Danny Shelton traded to Patriots, every one of the Browns first-round picks from 2009 to 2015 is gone from the roster. All 10 of them.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) March 10, 2018
That is just all sorts of impressively bad. I’m pretty sure a team couldn’t pull off the stretch of picks after Joe Haden if they tried. When you combine that with terrible free agency moves the past two seasons, it is no wonder the Browns only managed a single win.
In other news the Steelers are releasing Mitchell. The Steelers are interested in bringing him back on a more team friendly deal, but cutting him saved the team roughly $5 million in cap space.
The Steelers also reworked Antonio Brown’s deal to turn some of his salary into a signing bonus to also create space. The team started off barely under the salary cap, and if they expect to make any moves cutting players like Mitchell is necessary.
The team may have also found it redundant to have two super dirty players after JuJu Smith-Schuster took that role following his hit on Vontaze Burfict. A hit and a taunting penalty that landed the rookie a one game suspension. It is clear the Steelers want to pave the way for the next generation of cheap shot artists.