As we inch closer and closer to free agency for the Cleveland Browns, the one position where I see them being a major player is wide receiver. While the Browns had great production from Amari Cooper in 2023, it was less to be desired from every other player.
David Njoku certainly picked up a lot of the slack as he had just under 900 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns, but the production from Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman, and David Bell was nowhere near enough.
Between the three receivers who got the most snaps for the Browns as the No. 2 and 3 options, they totaled just over 1,000 yards combined and four total touchdowns. I know in this league you can’t expect to have three or four top-tier targets, but Cooper and Njoku are going to need help.
The other big wildcard in this equation is what Andrew Berry will do with Cooper. The veteran wideout is set to have nearly a $24 million cap hit next season which is not sustainable for the team to incur. Cooper was fantastic, but he will either be released or extended before the start of next season.
So, what would be the perfect scenario for the Cleveland Browns offense led by the passing attack of Deshaun Watson?
Extend Cooper through 2025 and add void years to the contract. I personally hate the voided-year tactic, but Berry is fully committed and that is the best way to pay him and keep the cap number between $10-15 million for the next two years.
There's no question that at age 29 the elite years of Cooper will start to be in the rear-view mirror, but I also do not doubt that he can have at least two more seasons as a true No. 1 option. Remember, Cooper has never had elite speed and counts on precision route running and strong hands which will deteriorate slower than speed.
Last but certainly not least, Berry needs to get an elite No. 2 wide receiver to help this offense out. Names like Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman both make a lot of sense to me. Neither have proven that they deserve $20 million per season, but both have had strong NFL careers and proven that they can perform.
Not many guys in the NFL are willing to play for a discount, but one of these receivers could be tempted to take slightly less for a chance to play with Watson, Cooper, and Njoku who will all take a lot of the opposing defenses attention.