Will the Browns pick up Jedrick Wills fifth-year option?

Browns, Jedrick Wills. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Browns, Jedrick Wills. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry has a decision looming as he has to decide if he wants to add a fifth-year to Jedrick Wills’ contract by May 1

When Andrew Berry took the job as the Cleveland Browns general manager, he had a lot of work to do. Sure, he was handed a better roster than most GMs that have come through Berea, but his predecessor — John Dorsey — struggled to fill out some of the more important positions.

He added superstar talents such as Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Jarvis Landry, and Odell Beckham, Jr. but failed to build sustainable depth. He also didn’t give them a solid replacement for Joe Thomas at left tackle.

That’s where Berry came in as the first selection he made in the 2020 NFL Draft was used on Jedrick Wills. The Alabama offensive tackle was taken 10th overall and had to make a move from the right side to the left.

He was good as a rookie but since then, things have gone in the wrong direction. Following a frustrating 2022 campaign where his effort on the field was lacking, there are now questions about whether or not Cleveland should pick up the fifth-year option in his rookie deal.

They have until May 1 to decide and will surely be pouring over a lot of film as they decide whether or not to continue the relationship.

Pros and cons of the fifth-year option

If Cleveland decided to add one more year to Wills’ contract, it would come with a $14.175 million price tag. Whether or not that’s too much money depends entirely on the player.

Should Wills develop and become a consistent starter, this would be a bargain. However, a middle-of-the-road starter shouldn’t get that much.

The problem is, there’s no guarantee the Browns can actually improve if they were to move on from Wills in 2024. There are no real options in-house — James Hudson isn’t terrible but he’s also not going to do much better than Wills and would be a liability in the passing game if he were on the left side permanently.

As far as free agents go, Cleveland is being linked to Andre Dillard, who is a former first-round pick as well. Dillard was taken 22nd overall by the Eagles in 2019 and was on the Browns’ radar that season as well before they traded their day-one pick to the Giants for OBJ.

That might not be the right answer either as Dillard has been a bust for Philly and started just nine games in his career. Still, he could be much more affordable than Wills, and adding him this offseason would give them time to see who is the better player.

Will the Browns pick up Jedrick Wills’ option?

The answer to whether or not Wills gets his contract picked up for 2024 is this — it depends.

Cleveland could very well wait to see what happens in free agency. With that starting on March 15, they might elect to see if they find someone they feel can start — like Dillard or perhaps a veteran such as Kelvin Beachum.

If they don’t find such a player, look for them to take on the deal. It’s better to pay a little more and hope for Wills to continue to progress than it would be to enter 2024 with no options at all.