The Cleveland Browns may be ready to compete for the playoffs in 2019, but they are also one of the teams who can be perennial contenders.
When the Cleveland Browns and Sashi Brown tore apart the roster during the 2016 season, the plan was to set the organization up for continued success.
It took Brown’s regime two seasons to complete their tear down, but after not building a team that did not show much potential, Brown was unable to see through his complete rebuild.
Current Browns general manager John Dorsey was able to come in immediately in December 2017 and turn the assets accumulated by Brown into a roster that is ready to compete for the playoffs in 2019.
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After finding their franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield and using the draft to build up the core of the roster, the Browns have a large window to compete. In fact, Lindsay Jones of the Athletic believes the Browns are best setup for continued success over the next 5-10 years of any NFL team (subscription required).
Jones says because the Browns were able to surround Mayfield with talent and depth across the entire roster, it has put them in a great position for sustained success. Because of having stability at quarterback with a young signal caller, that is the biggest reason why Jones believes the Browns are positioned well.
However, despite having that stability at quarterback, Jones believes the biggest potential roadblock is if Freddie Kitchens does not make a successful transition to being a head coach. If the Browns continue to have turnover at head coach, it generally hinders any potential success for a young quarterback and an organization as a whole, so Jones believes the Browns need Kitchens to be successful in order to generate long-term success.
There have been concerns about Cleveland’s long-term future because of the state of their salary cap. The Browns will be towards the top of the league in spending in 2019, and that is with several of their top players on rookie deals. In the next two or three seasons, the Browns will be forced to make tough decisions about who to keep on their roster in order to sign their young talent to extensions, including Myles Garrett and Mayfield.
However, Dorsey has shown he is not afraid to wheel and deal during his time as the Browns general manager. He may be forced to make some tough decisions in the next couple of offseasons, but the Browns will still be positioned well because of the presence of Mayfield.