Welcome back to the third 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 will be releasing a different position room.
For every position room, I have outlined how the NFL structures that position on the roster. I’ve also tried to predict the variation from the norm due to a Stefanski offense. 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.
The average NFL team has 5.7 WRs on their roster. It could have been due to the availability of players the Vikings had last season but we saw the second-highest use of two WR sets behind the Eagles. This makes me believe they are likely to carry 5 WRs rather than 6 on the roster next season.
Starting WR: Odell Beckham Jr.
Starting WR: Jarvis Landry
Roster – The two starting WRs that Stefanski will use on the majority of snaps are locked in. Due to their cap hits and the roster moving forward, this will likely be the last season with them both on the same roster. Whoever performs the best this season will likely be the one kept, while the other is traded. There is an outside chance both are moved next offseason. I feel it will depend on how they deal with the split and how other names in the position room perform.
Rotational WR: ?
FA – The surgery to Landry that is due to keep him out until the start of the season is likely to force the hands of this Front Office. Where they might have survived with two main WRs they are going to need a solid third choice. The best bet is to venture into free agency to secure talent that can perform in week one. When Sammy Watkins is cut, the Browns will return to having the most expensive WR tandem for the second season. This means any FA deal will be on the cheaper end of the spectrum. Three players coming off a good season last year are Cody Latimer, Pharoh Cooper, and Tajae Sharpe. You also have Rashard Higgins if you feel like you can get him back to his 2018 form and connection to Baker.
The other name I wouldn’t rule out if the CBA is agreed and removes suspensions for weed is Josh Gordon. Don’t be surprised to see some players previously banned for weed making an NFL return.
Rotational WR: ?
Draft – With an incredibly deep and talented WR draft, it only makes sense to add one this year. The Browns won’t need an instant impact so they can wait to see what the board brings them across days two and three. The hope is that this rookie will develop throughout the season and allow for the moving on from OBJ or Landry during the next offseason. Having a player who can step into that starting role just helps add more and more options as well as the flexibility to this offense and front office.
Depth WR: Damion Ratley
Roster – I see Ratley as the favorite for the fifth WR spot on the roster next season. Not only was he the 3rd best WR on the roster last season, but he was also the best performing WR on special teams. If a player currently on the roster could compete with him for the spot it would be KhaDarel Hodge or D.J. Montgomery. Hodge showed a few flashes and Montgomery had a good camp but ended up on IR. Keep an eye on this for an interesting camp battle.
Other: KhaDarel Hodge, D.J. Montgomery, J’Mon Moore, Taywan Taylor
Check back tomorrow for the Tight End deep dive.
Any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JackDuffin. The DMs are open for any salary cap/roster construction questions you have.