Browns reportedly shopping 'top cornerback' this offseason

Could Greg Newsome be the cornerback the Browns are listening to offers for?

Greg Newsome II, Cleveland Browns
Greg Newsome II, Cleveland Browns / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

With free agency around the corner, the Cleveland Browns have been actively finding ways to free up cap space. They restructured contracts for Denzel Ward to clear more than $11 million and then converted a portion of Jedrick Wills' contract into a bonus to open up another $10.44 million.

General manager Andrew Berry has continued to prove his mastery of the salary cap as they suddenly have roughly $15 million to spend without cutting a single player. That's a huge turnaround for a team that was rumored to be putting several people on the chopping block.

Even so, Berry knows he can't simply pay everyone. That's why it shouldn't come as a surprise that he was reportedly letting teams know the Browns were open to trading one of their top cornerbacks this offseason.

"Multiple GMs said the Cleveland Browns made it clear they are open to dealing one of their top cornerbacks as they try to balance salaries after years of heavy spending." — Jason La Canfora, Washington Post

Is Greg Newsome the cornerback the Browns would be willing to trade?

La Canfora doesn't mention any names but it's not hard to connect the dots. Greg Newsome II was a first-round pick in 2021 and enters the fourth year of his rookie contract, meaning a decision needs to be made regarding his contract.

First-round picks have an option in their deals for teams to add a fifth year, and the Browns have until May 2 to decide on whether or not to pick that up for Newsome. If they decide to add one more year to his deal, they will be on the hook for a fully guaranteed $13.377 million — and it can be argued that's too steep for his services.

It can also be argued that's a fair price. Which is part of the problem with Newsome.

He's often showing signs of elite play but he has wild swings of inconsistency. The worst example of this was in their loss to the Houston Texans in the playoffs. C.J. Stroud absolutely abused Newsome, who thought he didn't play "that bad."

His (over)confidence has also rubbed people the wrong way. But then again, the best corners are usually the most confident.

In the end, the Browns are likely looking at factors beyond Newsome. If this was only about him, they would probably pick up the option. But it's not. The position he plays actually hurts him since the Browns are deep at cornerback with Ward and Martin Emerson, who will be due for an extension soon as well. They even like Cam Mitchell, Newsome's former teammate from Northwestern.

Compare that to Jedrick Wills, who had no capable starters around him which is why his option was picked up despite groans from the fan base.

That's why it makes sense for Cleveland to see what offers might be out there. Getting more draft capital for Newsome while avoiding another contract averaging eight figures per year at a position of strength is the smart play.

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