(Photo by David Rosenblum / Icon Sportswire)
Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski got a lot out of it Cleveland Browns This season’s roster.
After exceeding expectations with a playoff appearance in the divisional round, they face a whole new challenge.
How are you doing it again in 2021?
#Browns QB Baker Mayfield: We’re setting a new standard here. We will be back.
– Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) January 17, 2021
Cleveland isn’t in a terrible position with its wage cap, with the 10th highest dollar available among NFL teams.
But they have a ton of free agents and upgrading players to take care of.
This will lead to a creative juggling of contracts and moving out of the analytically savvy front office.
Some of them will be more creative than others.
Here are 3 bold out-of-season predictions for the Browns.
1. Browns Sign WR Keelan Cole
Berry has some defensive gaps to fill in with his five top tacklers and two other starters who are eligible for a free agency.
Pretty much every decent linebacker, defender, and edge rusher is on some Browns fan’s must-sign list.
But in one bold move, Berry’s biggest move will be on the offensive side of the ball.
Broad Receiver Keelan Cole will appear as the Browns’ third Broad Receiver.
– Pro Football Network (@ PFN365) November 15, 2020
Cole entered the slot role for Jacksonville last year and had a career high of 55 receptions.
But he’s a natural external receiver and presents a much-needed speed threat to Mayfield.
He had a pair of 75-yard catches as a rookie and a team record of 91-yard punt returns that year.
Cole will sign for significantly less than what Rashard Higgins Demands on the market.
And that will help Berry fill more defensive holes.
2. Brown’s trade for JJ Watt and Stephon Gilmore
Berry and the Browns have some big deals to pay for in the years to come.
Because of this, the general manager will again be offering a range of 1-year low-ball free agent contracts.
But he also knows the team is a couple of defenders away from a Super Bowl run.
– Seth C. Payne (@SethCPayne) January 22, 2021
And that’s why he makes two big trades before the draft and lands not only JJ Watt but Stephon Gilmore as well.
Watt would like to go to Pittsburgh with his brothers, but they won’t offer enough for it.
And the only thing better than playing on the same team is beating your brothers twice a year.
Houston will ask for a high draft pick, but they won’t get it for an often-injured star nearing the end of his career.
But if you combine a mid-rounder with a late-round pick, you should be able to do it.
The incumbent DPOY Stephon Gilmore picks up exactly where he left off 👀
– PFF NE Patriots (@PFF_Patriots) September 13, 2020
Meanwhile, New England has dire needs on the offensive through 2021.
Gilmore had an off-season statistically, but the numbers believe quarterbacks avoided him at all costs.
And with Denzel Ward Where will they go on the other side of the field?
3. Brown’s trade in Jaguars and Net 2 DBs in draft
After a few picks have already passed for days 2 and 3, Cleveland needs to be careful with what is left.
When his first choice comes, Andrew Berry will have his wish list ready.
But if he finds he can land his biggest remaining fish later in the day, he’ll be trading with someone.
In my scenario, he balances two picks with the Jacksonville Jaguars on design day.
Jaycee Horn averaged 27.4 coverage snaps per catch in 2020.
Most of them in college football. pic.twitter.com/YIrQxlGf24
– PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 17, 2021
Unsure whether one of their coveted targets at # 33 will be the third choice, the Jags are ripe for taking.
Berry knows he has some goals that will likely be on the board for a while.
So he gives up Cleveland’s # 26 and # 59 for the Jaguars # 33 and # 45.
With these tips he lands Oregon Safety Javon Howard and South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.
Howard is the highest level of security in many bill drafts and Horn has had the best catch rate per cover this season.
Cleveland wins the off-season again!
Successfully negotiating the deflated salary cap while saving key free agents is a feast in itself.
It’s magical to keep the players happy and engaged while only expanding one or two of the eligible players.
Adding proven value to two key positions across trading is masterful.
And drawing several pieces of rotation with future starting potential wins the off-season.
Our 2021 opponents are set 👀
– Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 4, 2021
With Covid in the rearview mirror and a 17th game to generate revenue, things should get easier in 2022.
Even with well-deserved additions for a handful of players, there should be room to grow.
And the Cleveland Browns dynasty will keep rolling.