The Cleveland Browns may have re-signed Greg Robinson this offseason, but the structure of his contract creates flexibility if the Browns draft a tackle.
When the Cleveland Browns went on to win five of their last eight games in the 2018 regular season, one of the biggest strengths of the team was the offensive line.
The group struggled out of the gate last season and forced whoever was under center to take a lot of hits. But the group was able to turn everything around when the Browns made multiple changes in the middle of the season.
Once Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator and Greg Robinson replaced Desmond Harrison at left tackle, the unit became one of the best offensive lines in the league. And because of the limited pressures from the offensive line, Baker Mayfield shined during the second half of the season.
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Because of the success of the unit, Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey determined it would be best for the team to keep most of the starting offensive line together in 2019. The only expected change for the 2019 season is at right guard after last year’s starter, Kevin Zeitler, was traded to the Giants.
In order to keep most of the group together, Dorsey re-signed Robinson to a one-year, $7 million contract this offseason. Robinson was the only free agent from last year’s starting offensive line. Robinson has revitalized his career in Cleveland and earned a shot to compete for the starting left tackle job again in 2019.
However, just because the Browns re-signed Robinson this offseason does not mean the front office cannot draft an offensive tackle in the upcoming draft. Instead, Robinson’s contract gives the Browns plenty of flexibility.
Robinson is only owed $500k guaranteed from his contract. If the Browns decide to select an offensive tackle in the draft and problems arise for Robinson during the season, they would not have to carry much dead cap for moving on from Robinson.
Cutting Robinson would not make sense until they see him in game action. If he is unable to repeat his success from 2018 and falls back into his old ways, then that would be a time to consider releasing or trading Robinson. But for the time being, the Browns can draft a tackle to be a potential replacement for Robinson.
After addressing all of their biggest needs already this offseason, the Browns front office will have the ability to select the best player available on their draft board. And if they see the top offensive tackle on their board slipping in the draft, Robinson should not prevent the Browns from snagging that player.
Because of his performance last season, Robinson earned a shot to be Cleveland’s long-term starter at left tackle. But if the Browns feel the need to add a ‘Plan B’ at the position in the draft in case Robinson struggles, then Robinson’s contract should not be a concern for the Browns’ front office.