Cleveland Browns: Von Miller just made Mitchell Schwartz a lot of cash
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns need to look no further than what Mitchell Schwartz did to Von Miller to understand the value of keeping Schwartz on the team.
Super Bowl 50 will not go down as one of the all-time greats as the Denver Broncos took care of the Carolina Panthers in what was mostly a dull encounter.
But for Cleveland Browns right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, the game may be one that he will remember for a very long time.
And he has Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller to thank for that.
Miller walked out of Levi’s Stadium on Sunday night with the Most Valuable Player award after sacking Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton 2.5 times, part of a six-sack onslaught of Newton. Included in those 2.5 sacks were a pair of forced fumbles, the first resulting in Denver’s opening touchdown and the second sealing the Broncos’ third Super Bowl trophy.
“He’s tremendous, but we expect nothing less,” Denver defensive lineman Antonio Smith of Miller. “He’s one of the most dynamic pass-rushers in the league. When he turns it on and he’s healthy, nobody’s going to stop him.”
Miller is an unrestricted free agent and, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, now wants to be the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.
That is the same Von Miller that came to FirstEnergy Stadium back in October with the Denver Broncos to take on the Cleveland Browns. That day one of the most-dominant defensive players in the NFL met his match in Schwartz, who limited Miller to just a lone quarterback pressure in Cleveland’s overtime loss.
Schwartz is also an unrestricted free agent and he should walk around with tape of his performance against Miller cued up during contract negotiations.
While his game against Miller was the highlight of the season, his consistent weekly effort helped Schwartz earn a spot as one of the top offensive line free agents this year, according to Pro Football Focus:
"Schwartz may have been snubbed from Sunday’s Pro Bowl, but he played well enough to earn our second-team All-Pro spot at right tackle. Although he did allow 43 total pressures this season, he also was tied for the most snaps in pass protection with a whopping 705; by comparison, only 15 tackles had more than 600 pass-block snaps. Schwartz has earned a positive overall grade in all four seasons, and is coming off the best season of his career. In addition, Schwartz has not missed a single snap out of 4,427 over his four years in the league."
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One of the big takeaways for many fans from Super Bowl 50 is that a dominating defense that can rush the passer is all you need to win a title.
But the flip side of that is if you have a dominant offensive line, it may not matter what the defense tries to do.
The Browns currently have one of the league’s best offensive lines and Schwartz is a key member of that unit. While the Browns have done a nice job of building depth along the interior of the line with Austin Pasztor and Cameron Erving, the same cannot be said at the tackle position.
In recent years the Browns have been unwilling to retain their own free agents with mixed results. But there is no doubt that letting Schwartz hit the open market would hurt the team more than any other free agent loss over the years.
If there is still any doubt of that in the minds of executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson, all they have to do is roll the tape of Schwartz’ performance against the reigning Super Bowl MVP.