Which Cleveland Browns receiver might be traded?
The solution might be a trade. There has been quite a bit of chatter about trading a running back this offseason. This is possible, but there really is no roster issue in the running backs room. Four running backs are normal for an NFL roster and the Browns have four outstanding running backs from top to bottom.
The Board of Directors are Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and D’Ernest Johnson, along with newly elected Jerome Ford. Johnny Kelly is also a shareholder, but with a 3.0 yards per carry career rushing average, and two career receptions in a three-year career, he is unlikely to make the opening day roster.
If the Browns need to trim down to seven wide receivers, right now this fan would prioritize keeping Cooper, Peoples-Jones, Grant, Bell, Felton, Weston, Schwartz, Woods, and Bradley. That’s nine ballplayers versus a max of seven slots.
So, okay, let’s try to trade Woods and Bradley, right? Well, maybe not, because these players might not be in demand. Rival GMs have leverage because they know the Browns are in a roster squeeze and may believe Woods and Bradley will be waived and can be obtained without giving up anything of value.
Plus, what would they trade? A seventh-round draft pick might be worth more than the players in danger of being cut. That is sort of the basic trading commodity, although GMs can do things like conditional trades of seventh-round picks.
The most tradeable players might be Anthony Schwartz and Demetric Felton because they have put up some modest numbers at least, and thus are too good to be waiver wire pickups and could be worth at least a day three draft pick.
Felton had 604 all-purpose yards last season. With 18 catches in 21 targets, for a catch percentage of 85.7, he’s shown enough to continue to be gainfully employed. He’s potentially in contention for a starting job at slot receiver and should not be given away, but if the Browns like Bell and can get something really good for Felton, that could work out.
Anthony Schwartz, the track star with 4.22 speed, occasionally roused the wrath of the Dawg Pound last season because he played like a 21-year-old rookie at times last season. The reason might have been because he actually was a 21-year-old rookie.
This is more the fault of the coaching staff for giving the rookie too much responsibility too soon. They projected their fantasies onto him by giving him early playing time when Odell Beckham, Jr., and Jarvis Landry were injured.
21-year-old NFL players tend to have brains that are not fully developed, like the Minions cartoon characters. Once in a while, they contribute in the first year, like Ja’Marr Chase, but normally it takes until year two or three.
Davante Adams, to cite one example, had 446 yards in his rookie season and 483 yards in year two. He didn’t break 1,000 yards until year five, even with Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball to him.
Frankly, Schwartz is so raw he should get reps on special teams in addition to learning basic patterns at wide receiver. Remember, he spent half his time on the track team at Auburn, so he’s not as experienced as the average college player. It’s clear that he has athleticism, but he needs to be trained in the basics of being a football player first, and find a position for him in 2023. Still, he had 496 all-purpose yards last season, without knowing what he was doing.
Here again, the Browns shouldn’t trade a talent like Schwartz to get rid of him, but if another team is willing to offer fair value, that could be a way to solve the roster dilemma.
This also assumes that Michael Woods II is a legitimate developmental wide receiver. If he’s not, then he and Bradley could be out. They’re in that nebulous zone where rival teams might not give up something real in trade, but might make a waiver claim if given the opportunity. If the Browns are able to clear them through waivers and then sign them to their practice squad it will be a minor miracle. That would get them down to seven wideouts by August 30.
One way or the other, odds are that both of them will be on a 53-player NFL roster by October.
Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, David Bell, and Jakeem Grant are more or less locks to make the team.
The Browns can keep up to three of the following: Demetric Felton, Anthony Schwartz, Woods, Isaiah Weston, Ja’Marcus Bradley, and Michael Woods II. Two have to leave by trade or via waivers.
- The two receivers most likely to be traded are not the same as the two most likely to be cut if the trade does not materialize. Felton and Schwartz are tradeable for the right player, but too valuable to just be cut.
- Isaiah Weston has the inside track to make the roster because he has guaranteed money and has been very impressive so far. Keep an eye on him.
- If all else fails, Ja’Marcus Bradley and sixth-round pick Michael Woods may be waived.
- There’s plenty of time to make these decisions, so it’s not a crisis.