Cleveland Browns: No Need For “Troubled” Players
The Cleveland Browns showed the NFL through these last eight games of this past season that they don’t need a true number one receiver running routes and taking up valuable cap space.
There have been calls for the Cleveland Browns to add a couple troubled players this offseason — like Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell from the Steelers. This call comes from the fact that the only well-known receiver on the team is Jarvis Landry and those players would be capable of opening up the offense. Even so, they need to avoid such a temptation and stay the course with their current group of skill players.
Last season, the Browns made their offense work and were the second-best in the NFL over the last eight games of the season. Landry caught 81 passes for 976 yards and had four touchdowns on the year and was efficient when needed most down the stretch. He was a playmaker that the Browns needed desperately. The only other receiver on the Browns that had over 50 catches was David Njoku, with 56.
Duke Johnson, listed as a running back, but used as a receiver, had 47 catches. Callaway had 43, and if a few big play penalties never happened, he’s over 50 catches and has at least two more touchdowns. Callaway could have even led the team in receiving touchdowns, if not for those drops and penalties.
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A lot of the players on the Browns roster right now, aside from Landry, were largely considered no-name players in the league, yet they had success. Cleveland doesn’t need to go out and risk signing someone like Brown. AB is a cancer in the locker room, and we all are seeing that unfold right now. Le’Veon Bell is in it for the money and has not been team player for years now. Kareem Hunt, another player linked to Cleveland, was released by Kansas City over a video that came out that showed him kicking a woman in a hotel in Cleveland earlier this year. After that video came out a couple other incidents were brought to light to suggest a pattern of being a problem child and a potential problem in any locker room.
The Browns have plenty of offensive pieces that actually even compare to the likes of the Rams and the Patriots. Neither team, Browns, Rams, or Patriots had a receiver catch over one hundred passes, but Baker Mayfield threw the ball 75 times less than Tom Brady and Jared Goff. Brady and Goff threw the ball to the tune of ninth and tenth most passes attempted during the regular season.
All three teams spread the ball around to one or two main receivers and then there is a drop-off and the rest of the team is close. The Rams though, after Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks are relatively close, drop to Gurley with 21 fewer catches and then drop again to Cooper Kupp with 19 fewer catches. The Rams and the Patriots are both, now, going deep into the playoffs.
This to me, says very clearly that the Browns do not need a big name pass catcher and do not need to replace the nice surprise that is Nick Chubb at running back. Look to free agency for any kind of help at receiver. Re-sign Rashard Higgins and Breshard Perriman first.
Higgins to a few years at least and sign Perriman to a one-year contract and give him the time on the field to earn a long-term contract. After that has been done, cut, Derrick Willies, Orson Charles, and trade Duke Johnson. Duke is worth a third-round pick to the right buyer and it’s become painfully clear that the Browns aren’t ever going to use him to his full potential.
In free agency, the Browns should target, C.J. Uzomah if they are wanting to add another passing game threat. Uzomah has the second most receptions of the unrestricted free agent tight ends available this year, and he showed he has talent against the Browns during the second matchup of the year.
At receiver, the Browns should look at Devin Funchess, Donte Moncrief, and maybe even Adam Humphries rather than a bigger name with baggage. All three of these players could potentially become names to hear for the Browns long-term. Funchess and Moncrief would be preferred on the roster. Both are over six-foot-tall, and both average over 12 yards a catch
Both also have 21 touchdowns in four years. That’s an average of 5.25 touchdowns each season. Baker Mayfield will be throwing more next year, and that means more touchdowns, which means the Browns need guys that are tall, proven, and still young and have a lot left to give to the league. What they don’t need is a player who will bring bad vibes to a good locker room.