Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Landry isn’t a game changer

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 11: Jarvis Landry /

There was a lot of excitement over the news that the Cleveland Browns landed slot receiver Jarvis Landry, but the hopes need to be tempered somewhat

The Cleveland Browns are a better team now than they were just a week ago. That much can’t be argued. Tyrod Taylor is a better quarterback than DeShone Kizer and Damarious Randall is a decent cornerback who could be even better should he return to his natural spot at free safety.

Then there’s Jarvis Landry, the three-time Pro Bowl slot receiver who started out the trading frenzy. As far as compensation in the trade goes, Cleveland did fine. The problem is the amount of money Landry will get paid.

Thanks to being franchise tagged by Miami, Landry will make around $15 million this season. That’s the kind of money that a team normally pays a legitimate No. 1 receiver, which Landry is not. Landry isn’t a game changer and shouldn’t be paid like one, and that’s exactly what Cleveland is doing for 2018. It’s also what they could be doing for several years to come if they give him a hefty contract extension.

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This would be an error according to Pete Smith of NFL Spin Zone, who claims that no one is afraid of Landry. Smith insists that instead, Landry pads his numbers as the guy defenses allow to catch the ball, simply because he’s not a game changer.

"“Landry piles up numbers over the course of the game, which look good on a stat sheet, but mean little in terms of impacting the game, because the opponent is happy to let him get the ball and just tackle him, forcing them to punt it away.In games Landry led the Dolphins in receiving yards, they notched a 7-15 over the course of his four year career. Their overall record over that span is 30-35, so they are 23-20 in games where anyone else leads the team in receiving yards. It’s a simple formula. Make Landry beat you.” — Smith"

As Smith points out in his piece, Landry’s career average yards per catch is just over 10 yards. He’s also had two seasons with less than that, including 2017 when he had just 8.8 yards per reception. That’s the kind of production a team expects from their blocking tight end, not from their highest paid skill player.

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Landry is a decent slot option, and he will catch what comes his way. The problem is he doesn’t have the speed to threaten defenses and unless he suddenly learns to take routes up field, he won’t be worth the money Cleveland is going to pay him.