As good as the Cleveland Browns have been, they still have their flaws. See these five players under contract that are past their prime.
The Cleveland Browns come into 2021 with expectations at an all-time high. Many were believers in 2019, but things are different now after so much success last season. Not only did the Browns win 11 games in the regular season, but they also clinched their first playoff birth since 2002 and won their first playoff game since 1994.
With a talented roster comes a few things. The first, a constant battle with the salary cap. The Browns aren’t in huge trouble at this moment, but in the coming years, it will be more and more difficult to retain all the young talent on the roster.
The second thing that comes with a talented roster is veterans. Very few teams can win the whole thing without a strong veteran presence. What teams must be careful of, is getting too many veterans that are past their prime. That’s when the salary is far higher than the production of that player.
Here are five players on the Browns roster, that could be past their prime.
No. 5: Austin Hooper, Tight End
I get it, Austin Hooper is only 26 years old, how could he be past his prime? While I don’t disagree, his production drop from 2019 to 2020 is alarming.
In his first four years with the Atlanta Falcons, Hooper increased his targets, yards, catches, and touchdowns each season. Then in 2020, Hooper regressed to stats close to his rookie season.
Yes, the Falcons throw it all over the field, so he was bound to have more yards, but let’s not forget that Hooper had some timely drops and was never the third-down security blanket for Baker Mayfield that so many expected.
Hooper is by no means a bad player, but I’m not sure Andrew Berry wanted to pay him over $10 million a year to be a great interior blocker. Let’s hope he can break the funk in 2021.