Lost players and development:
The most obvious reason that COVID-19 will impact the NFL season is the players that have opted-out. While no one will have more talent sidelined in 2020 than the New England Patriots, the Browns will be hurt without Andrew Billings and Drew Forbes on the active roster.
Billings would have been the third defensive tackle but would have seen a substantial amount of time on the field during running downs. Forbes who is coming off an injury in 2019 would have been competing to start at the right guard spot. Many believe Wyatt Teller would have won the job, but Forbes would have been an exceptional interior backup.
Now the Browns front line on offense and defense go from all set to lacking depth. While there are still some free agency options, likely none will be as strong as what they lost. Not only do they lose the player for the year, but the Browns also lose the development of the players.
The Browns will also be without offensive lineman Colby Gossett, Drake Dorbeck, and Malcolm Pridgeon who opted out as well. The three above would have struggled for a roster spot, but now the Browns will never know.
While it is sad to see these guys miss the season, let me be clear, there is no judgment on their decision. Players with young ones and who are around high-risk people can’t be too cautious at this point.