The Cleveland Browns have a cap of $ 17 million to $ 22 million, depending on which site you use. How are you going to use it?
After watching Superbowl Sunday it is clear that if you want a chance to win every Sunday, you have good players in the trenches. The Cleveland Browns have already touched on one side of the ball as their entire offensive line returns in 2021. The defensive side of the ball has some questions.
Larry Ogunjobi is a free agent and has never been consistent. Oliver Vernon likely disappeared after tearing his Achilles on late the year and is unlikely to step down. Sheldon Richardson is in the final year of his business and on the wrong side of 30 so a restructuring / renewal could take place after a strong season but analysis is not on his side.
Porter Gustin had a few moments but looks like a backup and Curtis Weaver was brought in from Miami and is talented but was a fifth round pick for a reason. Jordan Elliott was up and down as a rookie. The Browns get Andrew Billings back for a year. He’ll start alongside Richardson when the Browns can’t find further help. Cleveland doesn’t have to sell the farm to improve the line of defense, but they do have to get better. So who can you help?
4. Sheldon Rankins
Sheldon Rankins is a wild card based on his health over the past two seasons. During that time he has played in just 22 games with one start. When Rankins is completely healthy, he is still showing the blast that allowed him to lose 24 quarterback hits, 10 sacks and 17 tackles from 2017 to 2018. The question is, which player do you sign?
Rankins is only 26 years old and the last two seasons have been more about injuries than lousy play. Even if Rankins isn’t the player he was in 2018, he has the talent to start and could deliver a solid game while the Browns look for a replacement. Cleveland’s front office would have to assess the risk / return here but could find a cheap diamond if Rankins even returns just before its strong 2018 season.
While a two-year contract may be required to get him to Cleveland, the front office needs to make sure it’s structured to keep them safe. You need to be able to opt out after a year to no avail if the injury problems persist, or possibly talk about extending it if all goes well.
Contract Forecast: Two Years, $ 15 Million, $ 7-8 Million Warranty (Truly One-Year Contract)