Will the player caravan from the Cleveland Browns stop?

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 07: Carlos Hyde #34 of the Cleveland Browns runs the ball in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 07: Carlos Hyde #34 of the Cleveland Browns runs the ball in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Now that we are in the Post-Jackson era, will the loss of talented players from the Cleveland Browns stop? Despite adding talent, we have seen far too many good players leave. That’s disturbing.

It is never one-sided and there were good things that happened in the Hue Jackson era for the Cleveland Browns. Eric Jordan, co-host of the Podcast Browns in our Blood, put it this way:

"“I liked Hue and admired the way he was able to communicate with his players and treat them like men. At the same time, it’s possible to be too player friendly and the players might not take the Coach seriously enough.”"

Perhaps a close relationship with the players can eventually become dysfunctional sometimes. In any case, prominent players have left Berea for non-football reasons. For example, this off-season Danny Shelton and Jason McCourty were traded for almost nothing to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

A third defender, Jamar Taylor, was traded to Arizona for a 2020 draft choice.  Those moves didn’t make football sense, at least not to this observer, and so we are forced to wonder whether there were personnel issues involving the Head Coach and Front Office.

Suffice it to say that somehow these players were not compatible with the team and its culture.

Yet these players had excellent reputations and were not known to be disruptive.  McCourty would have been released if he could not be traded, and yet is currently the 14th highest graded cornerback in the NFL and is not in the top 50 of highest paid corners, according to Overthecap.com. It is very hard to understand why  a good player has to be removed from the team. That has to be looked on as a management failure.

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But these are not the only lowlights. The failure to develop a “bridge” quarterback necessitated investing $18 Million in Tyrod Taylor for a one year rental. Coach Jackson was not able to develop even a third string quarterback from among Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Brock Osweiler, and DeShone Kizer.

This is not to say that any of these players was going to be Tom Brady.  However, were they so bad that they could not even perform adequately as a temporary starter till Baker Mayfield was ready (Game 3, it turns out)? This is not a knock on Taylor, who is a true pro, but it is fair to say that that money could have been spend on upgrading the offensive line or wide receiver corps.

More importantly, if a quarterback could have supplanted an all-too-inexperienced rookie last year, the team might not have suffered the historic disgrace of going 0-16.

Interestingly, every one of them is still in the league. McCown put up respectable numbers for the Jets last year, Kessler was okay in a relief appearance for struggling Blake Bortles of the Jaguars and Osweiler has done well this year in three games substituting for Ryan Tannehill for the Dolphins. Osweiler has the reputation of being a pariah based on his time in Houston, but his record was 8-6, not 0-16.

In summer camp, there are always tough decisions, like linemen Nate Orchard, Jamie Meder and Caleb Brantley who were all let go. What stands out, however, is that Carl Nassib was let go. Nassib has become a starter in Tampa Bay and sacked Baker Mayfield twice in Week 7. Wonder how Mr. Mayfield feels about the Browns paying part of Nassib’s salary in order to sack him — twice?

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Wide Receiver Josh Gordon and Linebacker Mychal Kendricks are both very talented but troubled players. It could be argued that the Browns were justified in losing patience with them, but both have put up numbers for their new teams.

Neither has been trouble free. Gordon was tardy a time or two with the Patriots, who temporarily benched him (unless they didn’t). But he is still the number two receiver on the team and has more yards than Antonio Callaway.

Kendricks wound up eventually getting suspended because of alleged illegal stock trades, but still was able to start a few games for Seattle after being cut by the Browns.

He is accused of essentially the same crime as Martha Stewart, who is still on TV, and nothing happened the Seattle team, as the NFL policy is very generous for the team if not the suspended player.

It can be argued that these were impossible situations, but evidently not for New England and Seattle. Perhaps a better manager could have made them work in Cleveland as well.

The latest weird casualty was Carlos Hyde. Hyde had to go because management evidently disagreed on whether to give some of his snaps to Nick Chubb. Probably Haley was the main advocate for Hyde, but nevertheless this signals that Browns management could not get on the same page. The failure to get along well with Haley may not have been 100 percent on Hue, but it is not 100 percent on Haley either.

Next. Golden Tate for a mid-round pick? Yes, please. dark

Can an 0-16 team can really give up seven regulars in exchange for a few later round draft picks?  You might argue that some of those players were overrated, but it’s still an impressive haul. But the more important question is whether these inexplicable player banishments will stop now that coach Jackson is gone.