The Cleveland Browns entered the 2018 NFL season as a laughingstock. After 16 games, they walked away as a team to watch in 2019.
This offseason will tell us everything we need to know about the future of the Browns. Last offseason, they went in with over $100 million in cap space and armed with two of the first four picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
While they made considerable moves with cap room, I still believe they could have done more. However, they made solid choices in the draft that has them in place to contend for the AFC North crown and the playoffs in 2019. The time is now.
Think about where they’ve been the last three years. The Browns went 1-15 in 2016 then 0-16 in 2017 before catching fire in 2018.
While they missed the playoffs this season, they made major strides. Some may say they exceeded expectations. Seven wins is child’s play for teams like the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kansas City Chiefs but for the Browns, it was their reintroduction into the NFL.
Despite their turnaround, the Browns will need to address a few areas of concerns heading into the 2019 season.
The team is young but the Browns witnessed what one veteran can do to change the dynamic of the team. The defense is still the driving force behind their success and could really be a force to reckon with experience and a few good signings.
What will the Browns do this offseason?
Here are 3 bold predictions for the Cleveland Browns’ offseason.
3. Antonio Brown Will Join The Team
The Browns’ offense showed signs of what it could be in 2018.
With rookie QB Baker Mayfield at the helm, the Browns ranked 14th in passing yards and 14th in rushing yards. That’s great considering their total rebuild at the playmaking positions.
Jarvis Landry lived up to his billing as a pass catcher with 81 receptions for 946 yards. However, the next closest receiver was Antonio Callaway with 43 receptions.
This is why going after Brown is such a huge deal. Pairing Brown with Landry will give the Browns a lethal attack. What it will also provide is Mayfield with two security blankets on opposite ends of the field.
Last season, Landry averaged 12.0 yards per catch while Brown averaged 12.5 yards per reception. The Browns will enter the offseason with a little more than $75 million in cap space. But the Steelers will want a king’s ransom for Brown’s services. Two first-round picks may be the price the Browns will have to pay.
If so, then this is one of the best decisions John Dorsey will make as a GM.
2. Dorsey Will Trade 2019 Draft Picks
Building a winning franchise also includes taking risks. Over the years, the Browns have taken some and have failed.
However, the last two years, they have hit paydirt with a few of their draft selections. Now is the time to see if it’s a trend or was just a fluke.
Heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, the Browns will be armed with 10 selections in seven rounds. They must make a move.
One suggestion is for Dorsey to move up either in the first or second round. For that to happen he will need to sell off his later round picks. The Browns have two seven rounders, one in the sixth, three in the fifth, one in the forth, and two more in the third.
Let’s say they have their eye on a certain player but feel as though he may be gone by the second round. This is where Dorsey will have to step his game up and play with the big boys here.
The same can be said for veteran players. There are teams always willing to trade contracts for future picks and the Browns will be loaded with picks and cash.
1. Frank Clark Is Coming To Cleveland
Defense wins championships has been the motto in the NFL for decades.
The Browns’ defense is headed in the right direction but there are pieces missing. Myles Garrett came into his own in 2018 with 13.5 sacks but on the opposite end, there was no help. The Browns must be prepared to make a huge splash here even if that means over-spending.
Clark, while with the Seattle Seahawks in 2018 registered 13 sacks. He’s a clear anchor for the Seahawks’ defense but will the ‘Hawks be willing to pony up the type of money Clark may demand?
With the Browns sitting on a ton of cash, this is the one player they may have to write a blank check for.
Yes, there may be other good pass rushers on the market but Clark is 25, plays with a passion, and will be the perfect compliment for Garrett on the other side.