3 potential cap casualties Browns might be able to trade rather than release

The Browns could have multiple players on the move.
Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos
Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The Cleveland Browns have the unfortunate distinction of the worst contract in the NFL at their disposal, as the mega bucks handed out to quarterback Deshaun Watson will make it even more difficult to retain some of the key players on 2023's biggest surprise playoff team.

The Browns have an elite defense and a team full of quality role players who executed their jobs to perfection last season. This will lead to many of the key components of this Browns team being jettisoned in the name of financial flexibility. It stinks, but that's the business.

These three Browns could be on their way out in the near future. However, Cleveland might be able to get something for them in a trade if they are proactive enough, as all of them are productive players who can add value to whoever picks them up.

3 potential cap casualties Browns might be able to trade

S Juan Thornhill

Maintaining an elite young secondary could come at a cost, as the eventual contracts MJ Emerson and Greg Newsome will earn could force Thornhill out of town. While his production has been solid after signing a three-year deal, Thornhill remains in a gray area. He's too good to just discard, but not good to commit to long-term for a cash-strapped team.

RT Jack Conklin

The Browns' offensive line is still one of the better ones in the league, but it did take a dip in 2023. Part of the reason why was Conklin's season-ending injury, which has officially forced the "injury-prone" label onto him. In his four years with the Browns, Conklin has never played a full season and played seven or fewer games twice.

While the loss of Bill Callahan could make it more difficult for the Browns to find a replacement for Conklin and his eight-figure cap hit in each of the next two seasons, Andrew Berry has had some success finding linemen. Some team desperate for offensive line help will give Conklin a whirl.

WR Elijah Moore

The trade for Jerry Jeudy and continued dalliance with Amari Cooper make it seem likely that those two will be the center of Cleveland's vertical passing game in 2024 and beyond. The always cryptic Moore, acquired from the Jets in a trade last season, could be on the outside looking in.

59 catches for 640 yards and two touchdowns isn't bad production in a vacuum, but it will get the Browns concerned about paying him a second contract. Still, the former No. 34 pick has some value in the right scheme, which could lead to another trade to a team more willing to help him secure a long-term future.