Day one of free agency was fairly uneventful for the Cleveland Browns. That does not mean there are no takeaways from the day. This is a league all about butterfly effects and every transaction will have direct and indirect effects on future transactions. Andrew Berry and company signed off on only two transactions today. However, it is worth mentioning league-wide transactions and how they will affect the way this front office will approach the rest of the week.
Changing Of The Guard
Andrew Berry’s big move so far this offseason actually occurred this past Saturday when he traded for then Dallas Cowboy Amari Cooper. Unfortunately, once that transaction was in place Browns’ fans all over knew what was to come next. Earlier this afternoon Jarvis Landry was cut, clearing $14.8 million cap room and putting the Cleveland Browns back under the 2022 salary cap number.
It was a sad moment as many in Cleveland saw Jarvis as the pivotal piece to the culture change we have undergone over the past four seasons. On March 9, 2018 Jarvis Landry was traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Cleveland Browns. A team at the time that was in the middle of a stretch of losses the league has not seen in awhile. Six weeks later we would see Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, and Nick Chubb added to the team through the draft. This group of players would eventually lead Cleveland to a playoff win against division rival Pittsburgh. At the center of that rebirth was locker room leader Jarvis “Juice” Landry. He will be remembered forever in Cleveland for his contributions. “Joooooooce” will echo through the walls of First Energy for years to come.
Cleveland thanks you for your years Jarvis and we wish you nothing but the best.
Wide Receiver Market Explosion
What may be the craziest market of day one of free agency is that at the wide receiver position. We saw eight sign today. The largest contracts went to Christian Kirk and Zay Jones who are now on the Jaguars and Cedrick Wilson who is now a Dolphin. Kirk is being paid an astonishing $20 million a year. A move which makes the Amari Cooper deal look like even more of a steal for Andrew Berry. Important to note that the Browns were rumored to be in on Kirk, but refused to match such a high asking price. As we head into day two, Allen Robinson and D.J. Chark remain unsigned. Could we potentially see either land in Cleveland? At the price the market is currently setting, perhaps not.
The Defensive Front
The lone signing for the Browns today came along the defensive front. And it was probably not the name everyone was hoping for. The Cleveland Browns signed former first rounder Taven Bryan to a one year deal for an undisclosed amount. A marginally minimal signing for a potential reclamation project along the defensive front. This is a strategy we have seen Andrew Berry try before. Most recently with Takk McKinley and Malik McDowell last offseason. These didn’t work out as I’m sure Berry would have liked.
There was no news along the Clowney front, but we did see a number of high profile defensive linemen get paid. Most notably Emmanuel Ogbah, a name that has been linked to Cleveland this offseason. He re-signed with the Dolphins for 4 years and $65 million. We have to imagine that number would be just a starting point for any Clowney deal. Other similar players and contracts were Hasson Reddick going to the Eagles for 3 years and $45 million and DeMarcus Lawrence staying in Dallas for 3 years $40 million. A Clowney re-signing looks like it will be in the ballpark of 3 to 4 years and anywhere from $40 to $70 million to get done. Numbers I am sure Andrew Berry can make work.
Day Two And Beyond
As we enter day two of free agency, the Cleveland will have approximately $12 million in cap space. This is obviously prior to any cuts or restructures that may happen this week. Areas that still need to be addressed are primarily along the defensive front. There has been no word from either the Cleveland front office or the Clowney camp that a deal is even being discussed. Clowney is notorious for waiting until the end of free agency to sign and we may be waiting a long time for news along that front. Depth at the defensive tackle position is desperately needed. Some names to watch out for tomorrow include former Brown Sheldon Richardson, Houston Texan Maliek Collins, or even perhaps Chicago Bear Akiem Hicks.