This is a brand new article series that I am starting called “If I Were a GM.” This series will be articles about things I would do if I was the general manager of NFL Teams and list out the perfect scenario that could play out. I’m going to go through each NFL team and highlight some offseason moves and draft picks that would set that respective team up for the future. All 32 NFL teams will be included in this series and the series will end before the 2019 NFL Draft. I’m going to be wheeling and dealing and I hope you guys enjoy the series.
The Cleveland Browns went from the worst NFL team that has ever existed, into one of the most promising franchises today. I would say that John Dorsey is doing a great job as the GM of the Cleveland Brown’s. However, I still think there are some signings and potential trades that can really take this team over the top.
What I have to work with: 27 million in cap space and 8 draft picks (2, 3, 4, 5 (3), 6, and 7)
Notable Players: Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Olivier Vernon, Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, Sheldon Richardson, etc.
Biggest Needs: S, CB, OL, LB
Trades and Free Agents
The Browns have already made their big offseason moves in acquiring OBJ and Vernon. Not only did they trade for great players, they also signed some key free agents. They brought back a starting tackle in Robinson, brought in Sheldon Richardson, and signed Kareem Hunt to a low risk deal. Here are some other players and picks they can acquire.
Trade Duke Johnson to the Eagles for a fourth round pick (128 overall): The Eagles are desperate for running back help and can be a prime candidate to trade for Johnson. Parting ways with a fourth round pick is a modest price to pay for a player of Johnson’s caliber and cap hit. The Browns clear up touches for Hunt and Chubb, while also gaining some draft capital back.
Sign Eric Berry: The Browns have done a great job with improving their roster. One big hole is in the back of the secondary. The need for another starting caliber safety across Randall is key. Signing Eric Berry gives them a low risk, high reward signing. Berry, when healthy, is one of the best safeties in the NFL. However he has been injury prone and should settle for a prove it type of deal. The Browns get a stud safety when on the field and do not need to commit big money. Meanwhile, Berry can re-establish his value. A one year deal for 6 million would be great.
Sign T.J. Lang: Shipping away their best offensive lineman in Kevin Zeitler was an interesting move. There is now a hole on the interior offensive line and most would expect sophomore Corbett to fill that hole. Well signing T.J. Lang would just give the Browns even more flexibility and stability in case of injury or if Corbett fails to meet expectations. Two years for 11 million is enough for a productive guard near the end of his career.
After trading Duke Johnson Jr. and signing Eric Berry/T.J. Lang: 18 million in cap space and 9 draft picks (gained a fourth rounder)
Round 2, Pick 49: Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama- After letting go of Jaime Collins, the Browns are in search of a three down linebacker. Wilson has one of the highest floors of any prospect in this draft. He is solid in all areas whether it is coverage, pass rushing, tackling, or pursuit. He would step in a solidify the middle of the Browns defense.
Round 3, Pick 81: Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame- Scouts are torn on what to think of Loveand his potential in the NFL. The Browns should snag him with their third round pick if he is there because of his potential. Love doesn’t have amazing athleticism, but the kid is a player. He has great man cover skills and plays with instincts. If he can overcome his athletic deficiencies and learn better discipline in coverage, the Browns could have their starting corner opposite of Denzel Ward.
Round 4, Pick 120: Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami- Signing Eric Berry gives the Browns a game changer when he is healthy but they should draft Johnson as a backup. Johnson would give the Browns an excellent rotational safety as he can play both safety positions as well as nickel corner and linebacker. While he is lacking in athletic abilities, Johnson has quickness and ball skills that allow him to jump routes and deliver some big hits.
Round 4, Pick 128 (from Philadelphia): TRADE for Vic Beasley Jr.- Bet you didn’t see this coming. The Falcons picked up Beasley’s option that will pay him 12 million dollars this year. That is way too much for the former first round pick. Since leading the league in sacks in 2016, he has been a disappointment. The Falcons have been fielding trade calls for Beasley and getting a fourth round pick for a guy that they were considering releasing is a huge get. The Browns now have another inconsistent but talented pass rusher. Vic would slide into a linebacker role, which is where he played when he led the league in sacks, and become an every down EDGE rusher or rotational pass rusher.
The Browns have one of the most complete teams on paper. They have superstars on both sides of the ball and are ready to make a serious run in the playoffs. Continuing to acquire high upside players is the goal. The additions of Eric Berry, Mack Wilson, Julian Love, Jaquan Johnson, and Vic Beasley Jr. give this defense so much depth and upside. Also, the signing of T.J. Lang ensure the offensive line doesn’t take a significant step back. It is a great time to be a Cleveland fan and the time is now for the Browns to take the NFL by storm.