Browns are Active in Free Agency
In an eventful Friday evening, the Cleveland Browns made a trio of trades to bring in some talented veteran football players. Granted, these cannot be made official until the league year begins next Wednesday – but many fans of the organization appear to be excited. I completely understand this line of thinking for two reasons: the Browns are getting guys under contract (not simply castoffs) who are still young enough to be productive for many years, and they are the franchise being aggressive and acquiring talent as opposed to letting their own free agents walk. Let’s look at the three moves.
Jarvis Landry – Wide Receiver
What has been the knock on the Cleveland Browns for the last handful of seasons (if not longer)? The have been ranked at the bottom or close to that, in terms of the wide receivers’ output. Trading only a fourth and a seventh round draft selection for a productive veteran appears to be a shrewd move, but going the veteran wide receiver route has underwhelmed in the past. I believe Landry has a better head on his shoulders than Dwayne Bowe and Kenny Britt – so I think the Browns were the winner in this trade. That said, upon hearing the news I was excited but noted that he needs someone good to throw to him.
Tyrod Taylor – Quarterback
Not much longer after the Landry deal was announced, the Browns gave up their third round draft selection to acquire a playoff signal caller from last season. In a bit of a surprising move, the team has their bridge quarterback – and in that a guy who has one of the lowest turnover rates at that position over the past two seasons. This was a huge detriment to the 2017 offense, who frequently gave the ball to the other team (especially in the red zone). Personally, I am ok with this move – Taylor is not my favorite option as a veteran signal caller but the team could do a lot worse than him. The only concern is that Taylor might be a different style of player than the guy they draft. This begs the question, will there be issues with the rookie’s development?
Demarious Randall – Cornerback
The final move of the day left the Browns with a new starting cornerback in exchange for DeShone Kizer and swapping positions in the fourth and fifth round selections. I hate to see the team give up so quickly on Kizer, but I have to believe John Dorsey knows what he’s doing. They have already upgraded at that position and will fortify it furthermore in the draft. Back to the trade – Randall should be familiar to Browns’ fans as he blanketed Josh Gordon last season. He’s not a lockdown cornerback but at the very least he fills the void left by Joe Haden (who was released last season). I expect another secondary member to be added to the franchise, but it will be interesting when (in what round of the draft) and whether it’s a safety or cornerback. I am in full support of this move and hope Randall is a cornerstone of Gregg William’s defense for years to come.
Conclusion: The Browns got better by a handful of transactions. I know they have nowhere to go but up from last year, but if this is any indication of John Dorsey – I expect a solid draft. Next week could further this excitement or be anti-climactic, but this was still a great start for the 2018 Cleveland Browns.