The Cleveland Browns wide receiver room will look different in 2022 and the team could add one of several free agents.
Odell Beckham Jr.’s time with the Cleveland Browns has come and gone, for better or for worse. He got the release he was seeking and now can do as he pleases. Good for him.
Now, onto the future of the wide receiver room in Cleveland.
In 2022, the only surefire wide receivers that will be on the team, barring a trade, will be Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz. DPJ will be entering his third season with Schwartz heading into Year 2.
Jarvis Landry is one of the most polarizing players on the Browns roster. Very few can say a bad thing about him as a person or as a player, but where there should be criticism is his contract.
In 2022, Landry is set to make north of $16.5 million. That is entirely too much for a player who does not put up the WR1 numbers that his salary would warrant. Listen, I love Jarvis Landry on this team and love the energy and leadership he brings, but let’s be honest, he does not produce as some of the top receivers around the league.
If Landry is on the team in 2022, which is not a lock right now due to his salary, he will likely have to restructure his contract or take a pay cut. Maybe he will see that taking less money will allow the team to spend more in free agency or to keep guys like Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, and Wyatt Teller around for the long haul.
The Browns will likely be in on a lot of wide receivers in the draft, which would clearly be the cheaper option than spending in free agency. After all, DPJ was a sixth-round pick a year ago. With that said, this free-agent wide receiver class is loaded from top to bottom.
This list will feature five upcoming free agents that the Browns should target in 2022, but here is a small list of guys who also might be considered; Juju Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Christian Kirk, Michael Gallup, Jamison Crowder, and T.Y. Hilton. A lot of those guys should be relatively cheap.
Now, on to the actual list.
Cleveland Browns WR target No. 5: Antonio Brown
This one is a bit of a tricky pick for the sole reason that Antonio Brown plays a similar style of football that Odell Beckham Jr. did and by that, I mean he freelances a lot. In Kevin Stefanski’s offense, freelancing is simply not something that happens.
Brown might also be a long shot due to his age (currently 33), but could also not be a long shot as he likely won’t command a huge salary. This year, with Tampa Bay, he is playing on a one-year, $3.1 million deal.
The former sixth-round pick by the Steelers is definitely going to be in Canton one day. In his first nine seasons, he racked up over 1,100 yards seven different times. After some off-and-on-the-field issues, Brown went to the Raiders (sort of), then to New England, and finally now in Tampa Bay.
While this season started off pretty good, AB has been sidelined with a positive COVID-19 test and an injured ankle/heel. In five games, AB has caught 29 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns.
This is a guy who will likely want to play for a contender in 2022, and the Browns are hoping to be one of those contending teams.