Linebacker Joe Schobert is in the final year of his contract and the Cleveland Browns have a lot of youth behind him. Could that lead to a trade happening before the start of the regular season?
Could the Cleveland Browns move on from one of their most popular players before the 2019 season even begins? According to Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report, they very well could.
Knox picks out a few players he believes could be headed to a new home before the regular season begins, and one of the names is linebacker Joe Schobert, who is playing on the final year of his rookie deal.
Not only does Schobert have an expiring contract, but as Knox points out, they are suddenly much deeper at the position after selecting Sione Takitaki and Mack Wilson in the most recent draft.
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"“While Schobert remains on Cleveland’s roster, he may already be set to lose his starting job. The Browns drafted a pair of linebackers in Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki, both of whom could be headed toward the top of the depth chart in the near future.” — Knox, Bleacher Report"
Entering the offseason, there has been a lot of talk about the kind of contract Schobert could receive when he does land his second deal. A former fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin, he’s more than outplayed his rookie deal and is deserving of a deal similar to the one signed by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander.
Now with the San Francisco 49ers, Alexander signed a four-year deal worth $54 million this offseason. Should he play out the entire deal, that would give him an average of $13.5 million per year. For Schobert, this is likely the starting point in his negotiations.
The question is whether or not the Browns want to pay that. General manager John Dorsey has added a lot of talent to the linebackers with not only the rookies from this season but free-agent Adarius Taylor and 2018 fifth-round pick Genard Avery as well.
If he’s making those moves as a way to replace Schobert and avoid paying him that big salary, it could make sense to explore a trade — and as Knox pointed out, he has no problem making big moves. In doing so, the Browns could get something in return for him, rather than allowing the player to leave while having to wait and see if a compensatory pick is awarded.
So far, Dorsey has given no indication either way on what the plans are for Schobert, so everything at this point is purely speculation. Having said that, it seems as though the smart move now would be to allow Schobert to play out his final season and make a decision next year.
With the high expectations surrounding this team, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to get rid of a player who can help them win. Especially one in a contract year.