Taking the Leap 2019
The Browns won the off season championship with their trade of Jabril Peppers to the Giants in return for Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham joins his former LSU teammate and lifelong friend Jarvis Landry forming one of the best WR tandems in the NFL this coming 2019 season. The Browns have been diligent and methodical over the last few years with their spending allowing for more cap space and flexibility in free agency. The Browns top players prior to Beckham are mostly on rookie deals; Baker Mayfield is in year two of his rookie deal, Miles Garrett year three of his rookie deal, Denzel Ward year two, Nick Chubb year two, Njoku year three, and Joe Schobert year 4. The Browns have positioned themselves to attack free agency and the trade market aggressively, and attack is what they have done.
GM John Dorsey is the architect building the contender. Dorsey moved in a new direction hiring the Browns former offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens quickly developed Baker Mayfield who as a rookie threw for 3725 yards and 27 TDs to 14 Ints. Dorsey orchestrated the Beckham trade and signed the embattled and now suspended RB Kareem Hunt (8 game suspension 2019). Dorsey also traded G Kevin Zeitler for DE Olivier Vernon (NY) and signed free agent Sheldon Richardson (MIN) to solidify an already stout Browns defensive front further. The Browns need at the Strong Safety position after trading away Peppers, and they can address this in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.
The 2018 Browns Offensive line ranked 14th in raw stats giving up 38 sacks, with 77 QB hits. Cleveland ranked 11th in the NFL in yards per rush (4.60).
AFC North Offensive Line Spend and Raw Stats Rankings
The Browns offensive line continuity remains intact for the 2019 season after they were able to sign Greg Robinson to a new deal, but they traded away RG Kevin Zeitler (ranked 6th at his position by PFF). The decision to move away from Zeitler may prove to be a bad decision for a franchise that has been spot on the last two seasons. When Cleveland signed Greg Robinson as a possible Joe Thomas replacement in 2018, it was risky considering Robinson has not exactly panned out based on his perceived potential until last season. The Browns have RG Austin Corbett a 2018 2nd round pick who played 19 snaps in 2018, and free agent Eric Kush (Chi) 7 starts in 2018. Corbett understands the system under Freddie Kitchens so he may be the answer. The other option is to draft another G if they feel the need to do so. So far it’s about trusting in Dorsey to make the best decision because as of right now he is batting nearly a thousand.
2018 v. 2019 Offensive Line Spend.
Don't Forget about Nick Chubb
One of the critical pieces to the puzzle not discussed above is Nick Chubb drafted by Cleveland with their 2nd pick of round one in 2018. Chubb proved to be another big-time decision gone right for John Dorsey in 2018 coming up only four rushing yards shy of a 1000 yards with a 5.2 yard per carrying average. Chubb also caught 20 passes for another 149 yards and two more TD's. Chubb is an underrated receiver, and if the Browns continue to work him into their pass offense, it will open up an already loaded offense heading into 2019.
The Browns are on track to take over the AFC North in 2019. The questions that once plagued the Browns in the past are now full of answers. The only problem left to solve is can Freddie Kitchens lead the Browns over the hump? I mentioned above that you cannot question the decisions made by John Dorsey and until he makes a bad decision Ill trust the Freddie Kitchens Decision.