Cleveland Browns NFL Offseason preview: Sorting out Baker Mayfield’s future a top priority – Cleveland Browns Blog

Berea, Ohio – The Cleveland Browns were among the league’s biggest disappointments this past season. Despite boasting a slate loaded on both sides of the ball, Cleveland finished 8-9 and failed to return to the playoffs after the 2020 season.

The passers-by went off a cliff after quarterback Baker Mayfield suffered a tear in his undeserved left shoulder in the second week. The social media that broke Mayfield. While the defense was greatly improved, it was also inconsistent.

The Browns eventually pulled out a pit all the way, losing three in a row before winning a pointless game against Cincinnati at the end of the season with the Bengals resting.

Cleveland still has an enviable youth list. But Brown has some big decisions to make, starting with the quarterback.

Expected maximum salary area: $27.32 million

The most important free agents: De Jadvion Clooney, DT Malik Jackson, LP Anthony Walker, TE David Njoku, WR Richard Higgins, RB Dernest Johnson

Possible candidates for cutting: Two men to watch are WR Jarvis Landry and C JC Tretter. Landry has an upcoming cap of $16.6 million, but no money is guaranteed, creating an opportunity for Browns to move forward. Last season, he finished with only 52 catches, 570 yards and two touchdown receipts, and he didn’t make a single interview through the team after Beckham was released. He may be ready to change. Tretter is a reliable supporter on the inside of the offensive line, but, like Landry, he doesn’t have guaranteed money left in his deal, topping out at a maximum of $9.9 million. Additionally, Brown has drafted his final replacement in Nick Harris, who will be entering his third season.

The big question: Are Browns going forward with Mayfield in the middle, or are they rocking a deal for another pass-through of great fame? Mayfield suffered last season after rupturing his shoulder. Finished 27 years oldy in the league in QBR, and he was a fluke to himself by the end of the season, especially in a sombre display in his final game, taking nine sacks while throwing picks in a Monday night football loss in Pittsburgh. Brown must decide how far they think the injury has held Mayfield and, in turn, whether they think he can bounce back after off-season shoulder surgery. In 2020, Mayfield helped the Browns achieve their first play-off victory in 26 years after finishing 10y in QBR. Since he’s under contract for another year at a reasonable figure (around $19 million), it seems likely that he’ll be back. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if Brown kicked the tires on the trade-ability of the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson or even Kirk Cousins.

Best off-season scenario: The Browns land Rodgers or Wilson without having to swap any of their current young stars, notably passer Miles Jarrett, cornerback Denzel Ward or running back Nick Chap. They supply that medium to a widely proven player through another trade or through free agency.

Worst case scenario off season: The Browns do not re-sign Clowney to solidify their pass rush against Garrett, and then fail to get Mayfield any offensive assist at scale through the draft and free agency.

An early look at the NFL Draft, from ESPN analyst Jordan Reed: Finding a broad, basic-caliber receiver is essential to the Browns as they try to set up Mayfield with as many guns as possible. Building the defensive line is another area that Perry may look to attack. In the category of deep-edged rusher, finding a long-lasting pairing against Myles Garrett is feasible.

Most important needs: WR, IDL, EDGE

Best choice for: number 13