General manager Andrew Berry deserves recognition for the work he's done running the Cleveland Browns. Not every move has been a home run but for someone coming in with no GM experience, he's exceeded expectations. Berry has not only been a master at manipulating the salary cap (which is fake) but he's built a competitive roster that's made the playoffs twice in four years — after making it just once between 1999 and 2019.
That depth was tested this season with a multitude of injuries to key players. Even with franchise cornerstones being knocked out, the next player up just kept getting the job done. Now, the goal will be to figure out which free agents to keep, fill holes with outside additions, and then focus on the NFL Draft. With all that being on the agenda, the Browns need to make sure they avoid making one of these five mistakes.
5. Re-signing injured linebackers
Several linebackers are set for free agency including Sione Takitaki, Anthony Walker, and Jacob Phillips. Matthew Adams and Jordan Kunaszyk are also slated to hit the open market but they're known primarily for their special teams contributions.
As for the other three, two of them have had terrible luck when it comes to injuries. Phillips, a third-round pick out of LSU in 2020 has played just 20 games in his career. Nine of those were in his rookie campaign and he missed all of 2023.
Walker was signed in 2021 after spending four years with the Colts. He had 113 tackles in 13 games that season but then played in just three contests in 2022. He returned in 2023 and wasn't nearly as impactful with 44 tackles in 12 games. He was then sent to the IR following their win over Jacksonville.
Both have talent and Walker is a vocal leader. However, this team has to realize the best ability is durability. Re-signing Takitaki is fine but they have to allow the other two to walk. Perhaps they get healthy elsewhere but there have been too many injuries in Cleveland to roll the dice again on both players.