I would say disappointing is an understatement for Donovan Peoples-Jones and the Cleveland Browns thus far in 2023. After increased production in his first three years in the league, he completely fell off a cliff in a contract year.
With Andrew Berry feeling more pressure than ever to win now, the Browns are sending DPJ to the Lions where he will get a chance for a fresh start.
After 839 yards receiving and three touchdowns in 2022, DPJ has just 8 receptions for 97 yards in seven games this season. A guy who had nearly 100 targets last year, has only seen 18 nearly halfway through the season one year later.
Part of this is certainly the addition of Elijah Moore, but truthfully, he hasn’t been lighting anything up with 256 yards receiving through the same seven games.
While it feels like the Browns got fleeced here, it’s a win/win for the Browns and the Detroit Lions who gave up a sixth-round pick in 2025 for the Detroit native. DPJ was out of contract after the season and was likely out of Cleveland either way.
The Lions have been extremely efficient on offense but are lacking a big-bodied receiver like DPJ who can go up and get the ball. Truthfully, I see him being limited in the Lions offense as they already have Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds, and Jameson Williams, but you know what they say, sometimes a fresh start is all it takes.
What does this mean for the Browns?
You will either see a lot more of rookie Cedric Tillman in the second half of the season, or Berry is clearing the way to make room for another wide receiver via a trade. While it would be great to add more firepower, I’m more concerned about getting the quarterback healthy and getting in sync.