Welcome back to the twelfth and final installment of the series. I am taking a deep dive into the Browns roster and how they can best fill the holes in their roster. Each day I have been releasing a different position room.
For every position room, I have outlined how the NFL structures that position on the roster. The players we have in four categories: starter, rotation (play some snaps), depth (injury backup/special teams) and other (likely cut). Then I will lay out the options currently on the roster, available in FA as well as via the draft for all 53 spots.
Starting K: Austin Seibert
Roster – Despite looking good on the surface it wasn’t a great year for Austin Seibert. Don’t be surprised to see the Browns bring in a UDFA this offseason who has a real opportunity to take the roster spot.
Starting P: Jamie Gillan
Roster – Last season turned into a one-horse race for Browns Rookie of the Year. The Scottish Hammer will likely be in Cleveland for a long time if he continues this form. While a UDFA might come in for camp, don’t expect any serious challenge to Gillian.
Starting LS: Charley Hughlett
Roster – He continued four years of great performances and has three more years on his deal. I would be surprised if he isn’t here for all of them. He has been a consistently above-average performer.
I have given an overview of all the different directions I could see the Browns going per roster spot. While the temptation can be to go for the most expensive options in each situation it means you have to weaken yourself somewhere else.
Here are the players I would target and an approximate contract value per year and how many years they could be offered. I have tried to list multiple names where possible as you don’t want to go into FA with a make or break target. This is a dangerous game where you end up overpaying.
QB – Brett Hundley/Blake Bortles/Sean Mannion – $2m/2Y
FB – Anthony Sherman – $1.5m/3Y
WR – Cody Latimer/Pharoh Cooper/Tajae Sharpe/Rashard Higgins – $3m/2Y
TE – Eric Ebron – $7.5m/3Y
OT – Cedric Ogbuehi/Mike Remmers/Dennis Kelly/Cornelius Lucas – $1.5m/2Y
ED – Ronald Blair/Adrian Clayborn/Jordan Jenkins/Jason Pierre-Paul/Pernell McPhee/Benson Mayowa – $3m/2Y
ID – Michael Pierce/Shelby Harris/Mike Daniels – $5m/3Y
LB – Nick Kwiatkoski – $3.5m/2Y
LB – Josh Bynes/Kevin Pierre-Louis – $1.5m/1Y
SCB – Darqueze Dennard/Mackensie Alexander/Kendall Fuller – $5m/2Y
FS – Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix/Tre Boston – $9m/4Y
Predicting some of these contracts outside of tier one can be a dangerous game, so if I end up miles off don’t get too upset. It only takes one team to pay them and a backup option becomes a well-paid starter.
While it is too early to put names to picks yet, it is never too early to work out where you would spend draft capital in an ideal scenario if the board falls to you. Teams will be playing with a whole range of calculations giving them a better feel for where they most go harder in FA and where they feel they can get the most value in the draft.
Day 1 – OT!
It is as simple as that, we might trade down to add more picks before pulling the trigger but the Browns not taking an OT in round one might be the shock of the draft.
Day 2 – WR, TE, OT, ED, ID, SS
These are the six positions I could see the Browns targeting on day two of the draft. In this scenario, they have locked up a starter at TE & ID in FA so you take those off the board here. Considering you only have three picks you can drop on of these positions to the top of day three. Having options in your list of needs allows you to balance it alongside the best play available.
High Day 3 – ID, CB
Based on the position that doesn’t get addressed on day two, you then have three different areas of focus. It is about adding solid pieces that can develop into contributors moving forward.
Late Day 3/UDFA – QB, RB, iOL, LB, S
Once you get to the 6th and 7th rounds I have little to no expectations on the picks. You are looking for anyone with upside and promise as well as special teams talent. Many of these players won’t even make it out of camp on a good team. Just start shooting for the positions of interest in advance of UDFAs.
The NFL salary cap sits at approximately $200m this season. The Browns are in a position where they have around $32m in cap rollover from last year as well. With extensions to Myles Garrett & Baker Mayfield on the horizon, they would be best to save most of the cap rollover.
Where They Stand
Looking at the FA moves I made above, alongside the other cuts in the article, here is what the Browns Cap situation would be after cutdown day:
Roster – $187.2m
Dead Cap – $15.3m
Total – $202.5m
Players In Final Year
When making moves on a roster it is important to look at which players are in a final year and leaving the Browns in the 2021 offseason. You ideally want to be adding players this year in the draft that can cover their production. They are also key to freeing up money for extensions and other moves. These aren’t just expiring deals but it could be cut/trade situations. Cap flexibility is how the smart teams remain at the top of the league.
Cut/Trade – OBJ or Landry – saves $16m or $12m respectively
Expires – Vernon – saves $15.5m
Cut/Trade – Richardson – saves $12m
Expires – Mitchell – saves $3.5m
Expires (if no 5th-year option) – Njoku – saves $3m
Expires – Ogunjobi – saves $2.5m
Expires – Lamm – saves $2.5m
Expires – Kareem Hunt – saves $2m
Any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JackDuffin. The DMs are open for any salary cap/roster construction questions you have.