The one thing that can derail the Cleveland Browns hype train this season is their offensive line. But do they have some options as they enter the 2019 season?
Beware the preseason. Every year, there are huge overreactions to things that go wrong during these games, as well as overreactions to some things that go right. The Cleveland Browns understand this as they were victims of a 4-0 record in the exhibition games in 2017, which we all know led to a 0-16 regular season.
That doesn’t mean everything about the preseason should be brushed off. For example, the Browns have a real problem on their offensive line and it was exposed on Friday as they were pushed around by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the ‘dress rehearsal’ game.
Outside of Joel Bitonio, no one really seemed to hold their own, and Baker Mayfield really had to spend the majority of his time on the field moving around looking for a clean enough spot in the pocket to get off a throw.
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Center J.C. Tretter has been playing injured, so he shouldn’t be beaten up too bad but he had his struggles in this one. However, he was still much better than the other three starters. Right guard Eric Kush was overwhelmed and both tackles — Greg Robinson and Chris Hubbard — failed to hold off the edge rushers.
After that game, it’s safe to say there needs to be some serious discussion made about addressing the line. While they need to be actively scouring the waiver wires as cuts are made, the Browns would also be wise to make some calls before then to teams who have some available players.
They could also look to add some players who have either not lived up to draft status or are on their final season. One example could be Forrest Lamp of the Los Angeles Chargers. A second-round pick in 2017, Lamp has yet to start a game and has only appeared in two. A former highly-touted interior lineman, Lamp could flourish with a new start and might be affordable via trade due to his inability to crack the Bolts lineup.
As for the player on an expiring deal, Cleveland could be to call the Dallas Cowboys about La’el Collins. They need to clear space to sign several key players and moving Collins could help in that regard. They already have Cam Fleming available to replace him so they could be willing to deal.
Collins could help at either tackle or guard as he’s done both in his career and is an upgrade at either right guard or right tackle for the Browns.
There’s also the possibility of making a big splash by trading for Trent Williams. The Redskins blindside protector has been rumored to be on the move all offseason and would be a great left tackle option, but he wouldn’t come cheap.
Cleveland does have some options ahead of the regular season but the question becomes whether or not they want to pay the price. Then again, with so much hope riding on the talent of their roster this season, they might not have a choice. They simply can’t let this one position cause the entire team to fall apart.