Talk about a turn-around, the Cleveland Browns went from being a 1-31 team a few seasons ago to posting an almost .500 record last season to being considered the favorites to win their division and maybe even make a Super Bowl appearance sometime soon.
It all has to do with the magic that second-year general manager John Dorsey seems capable of bringing to the table, including the ability to spot useful talent, to make solid (and even miraculous) free agent signings, and to draft franchise-level talent who retain their value over time.
The 2019 Cleveland Browns are going places, and theyre making the moves that prove it, and here we take a look at all the offseason action theyve been a part of as well as look at the odds and predictions of their 2019-20 season.
You can also take a look at the what other NFL are teams are up to this offseason. We covered the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, and the Kansas City Chiefs biggest offseason moves.
The biggest offseason news for the 2019 Cleveland Browns is the trade for Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants, arguably one of the top three wide receivers in the NFL.
Turns out Browns general manager John Dorsey and Giants general manager David Gettleman had been slow-talking the deal for a while now and were able to come to terms with a trade that will give quarterback Baker Mayfield the veteran deep threat he was lacking last season.
Despite having just signed Beckham for a five-year, $90 million extension in August 2018, Gettleman took a 1st round draft pick (17th overall), a 3rd round pick (95th overall) and safety Jabrill Peppers, who was a first-round draft pick in 2017.
Compared to what?
If you compare the 2018 Browns record of 7-8-1 with teams who made the playoffs last season, then the Browns didnt do so well.
But compare that to their previous season when they went 0-16 and the season before that when they went 1-15, then suddenly almost breaking even looks pretty good.
Especially when you consider that midway through the season, Dorsey changed head coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators, all while being led by a rookie quarterback who didnt practice with the starters in training camp and didnt start in the regular season until Week 4.
For the first time in a long time, the Cleveland Browns arent required to use the draft and free agency to shop for a franchise quarterback. Or a pass rusher. Or a running back or wide receiver.
There are still some depth issues on the offensive line, at linebacker and in the secondary, but the 2019 Cleveland Browns have the luxury of creating depth instead of filling major holes, and with a solid eye for talent like Dorsey has, the team roster should look plenty competitive by the time training camp begins.
The addition of wide receiver Beckham, running back Kareem Hunt (who will be eligible to play in Week 9), Second-team All-Pro defensive end Olivier Vernon and safety Morgan Burnett to an already talent-heavy roster has the football word predicting the Cleveland Browns as the 2019 AFC North Champs.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who just signed a one-year $4 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who will now play for the Houston Texans after signing a one-year deal for $900,000.
Safety Jabrill Peppers, who was part of the OBJ trade and went to the Giants.
Linebacker Jamie Collins, who was released by the Browns in March and remains a free agent.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., (see above).
Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who the Browns have signed to a three-year, $36 million deal, with $21 million guaranteed.
Defensive end Olivier Vernon, who came over in the overall trade of OBJ with the Giants.
Safety Morgan Burnett, who the Browns signed for a two-year, $7.5 million contract with $3.65 million guaranteed.
Offense: Offensive line depth
Defense: Cornerback, linebacker
The Browns have 8 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they are:
Not only have the Browns not made the playoffs in the last ten seasons, but theyve also been absent from the postseason for the last sixteen seasons in a row.
Since the Browns returned to the league as an expansion team back in 1999, theyve been in just one playoff game, the 2002 Wild Card Playoffs when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-36.
Given all the high-level talent thats part of the Browns roster now, it is only a matter of time before this team will finally see the postseason once again, if not the Big Game itself (if all the current hype is to be believed).
With Baker Mayfield under center throwing to receivers OBJ, Jarvis Landry, tight end David Njoku and dual-threat running back Duke Johnson Jr., new head coach Freddie Kitchens only has to do what he did for the second half of last season, which is put together a game plan that utilizes the teams many new strengths.
The run game will be a huge factor for the 2019 Browns, with impressive second-year running back Nick Chubb returning to improve upon his impressive rookie debut.
Chubb will be joined by Kareem Hunt, who wont see game time until Week 9 due to a suspension hes serving for off field behavior that got him suspended from the Kansas City Chiefs mid last season.
The defense was a major weak link last year, so once some more defensive depth is drafted and traded for and added to Garrett and Vernon chasing down quarterbacks, the 2019 squad should be a major improvement over being ranked 30th overall.
Its a long and winding story, but in a nutshell, their prior head coach, Hue Jackson, was brought in by the previous front office and after a 2-5-1 start to the 2018 season was let go, and by that time he had an overall record of 3-36-1.
Dorsey also fired offensive coordinator Todd Haley and promoted defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as interim head coach and running backs coach Freddie Kitchens to offensive coordinator.
Kitchens so impressed Dorsey with his offensive play calling which helped the team finish the season with a 5-3 record and their rookie quarterback develop that he made him the new head coach, let William go and brought in offensive coordinator Todd Monken and defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks.
According to the oddsmakers, the 2019-20 Cleveland Browns have the best chance to win their division, have a decent chance to win the AFC, and are tied with the Indianapolis Colts as the fifth most likely team to win the Super Bowl next season.
However good their roster looks on paper, though, it will take Kitchens being able to manage a locker room full of dynamic personalities and new coaches and creating game plans that begin to use OBJ to stretch the field.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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