Here is the third annual installment of my Browns offseason roster deep dive. I will be going through the Browns roster and how they can best improve/fill all 53 roster spots. Every Monday and Wednesday I will be releasing a different position room.
For every position room, I will outline how the NFL structures that position on the roster. Also how the Browns might vary from the standard based on what we have seen in 2020 & 2021. 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.
Interior Offensive Line
The average NFL team has 9.0 OLs on their roster.
2020 (5) – Joel Bitonio, Evan Brown, Nick Harris, Wyatt Teller, JC Tretter
2021 (6) – Joel Bitonio, JC Tretter, Wyatt Teller, Nick Harris, Blake Hance, Michael Dunn
With four of these being tackles, it leaves five interior spots on the roster, made up of the three starters as well as two backup players. It is important to make sure at least one of the backup players has experience snapping the ball. If the Browns kept a 6th interior offensive lineman as they did in 2021 it would be an additional guard.
Starting LG: Joel Bitonio
Roster – This season Bitonio got a contract extension that keeps him on the team for two more years and then gives the Browns a team option to keep him for 2024 and 2025. This gives them maximum control as you do not know what will happen to a player’s body as they get older. In the unlikely scenario, they move Bitonio out to tackle then Dunn would step up into this starting guard spot.
Starting C: JC Tretter or Nick Harris
Roster – Tretter is a very solid and reliable player but is due $8.25 million in 2022 which the Browns could look to spend in other places, the same way they did moving on from Sheldon Richardson. Nick Harris put up a very good performance against the Packers on Christmas day and was drafted to try and be the long-term replacement to Tretter. The team will have to decide if he is ready and if they feel the money is best spent on Tretter or elsewhere.
Starting RG: Wyatt Teller
Roster – Teller got extended this season with a similar deal to Bitonio, keeping him on the team for two more years followed by two team options. He has a smaller sample size of elite play than someone like Bitonio so they could decide to move on down the road if he doesn’t keep up to his contract and the out after two more years gives them that option.
Depth G: ?
Roster – There are three names in the hunt here: Michael Dunn, Blake Hance, or Drew Forbes. Dunn is the favorite based on how he has played for the Browns. There has been hype around the other two but neither has done anything of note.
Draft – They could look to add someone on late day three of the draft and throw them in the mix but I feel it is unlikely with how well the team has developed UDFAs.
Depth C: ?
Roster – If Tretter stays then Nick Harris has this roster spot locked down. If not then don’t rule out Dunn getting a shot at backup center opening up the door for another player on the interior. He would likely be the backup guard and center.
Other: Hjalte Froholdt
Check back on Monday for the Edge Defender 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.