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.
Starting K: ?
Roster – The Browns currently only have Chase McLaughlin linked to the team and he is a restricted free agent and unlikely to be retained at the number it will cost. So don’t be surprised if he isn’t on the team next season.
FA – If you look at unrestricted free agents then only two had good years last season and that is Nick Folk and Zane Gonzalez. There are some interesting names who are restricted free agents but they likely won’t hit the market. They will bring someone in on a really cheap deal most likely to compete in camp.
Draft – I can’t see this front office wasting draft picks on a kicker, they might take someone in the 6th or 7th but the most likely route is adding a UDFA to compete during camp against a free agent.
Starting P: ?
Roster – They might decide to bring Dustin Colquitt back for camp on a cheap deal but I think they will search for other options out there. Joseph Charlton has a better chance at making it to camp but he isn’t a lock by any means.
FA – If you look at unrestricted free agents then only two had good years last season and that is Bryan Anger and Thomas Morstead. Another punter who had a solid season is Corey Bojorquez. Someone cheap on a minimum deal with little to no guarantees seems a lock.
Draft – I can’t see this front office wasting draft picks on punters either, they might take someone in the 6th or 7th but the most likely route is adding a UDFA if they prefer him to Charlton to compete during camp against a free agent.
Starting LS: Charley Hughlett
Roster – The fact most Browns fans don’t know his name is a testament to how well he plays. It is only a position you hear about or discuss when things go wrong. He has been a consistently above-average performer since he started for the Browns in 2015. He is going into the last year of his deal but no real danger due to his $1.25m cap hit. If the team had a more settled kicker and punter they could look to bring in a UDFA to compete but they won’t want all three having battles in one offseason.
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, 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 – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cam Newton, Jacoby Brissett, Andy Dalton
RB – N/A
FB – N/A
WR – Chris Godwin, Mike Williams, Michael Gallup, D.J. Chark, Cedrick Wilson, Braxton Berrios
TE – David Njoku, Dalton Schultz, OJ Howard
OT – Chris Hubbard?
iOL – N/A
ED – Melvin Ingram, Justin Houston, Jerry Hughes, Charles Harris, Uchenna Nwosu, Takkarist McKinley, Oliver Vernon
ID – Folorunso Fatukasi, BJ Hill, DJ Jones, Harrison Phillips, Tim Settle, Sheldon Day
LB – Anthony Walker, Elijah Lee
CB – N/A
FS – M.J. Stewart, Jordan Whitehead
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.
Round 1 – WR, ED or Trade Down
Round 2 – WR, ED
Round 3 – QB, WR, TE, OT, ED, ID, CB, S
Any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JackDuffin. The DMs are open for any salary cap/roster construction questions you have.